The Lockout/Tagout standards OSHA sets forth for workers in California and across the country are successful at keeping workers safe while working with the equipment needed to complete their jobs. However, the Lockout/Tagout standard is one of the most cited safety standard violations by the company each year.
Workers’ compensation experts explain that the issues cited the most include the development of procedures and the removal of lockout or tag-out devices at the appropriate time.
The first part of the Lockout/Tagout process is for companies to develop a program for energy control. Employers that take the time to create a written document will provide a guide to employees that they can refer to as needed. This document should explain each step in the process of shutting down, blocking, isolating, and securing the equipment used at the facility. The lack of detailed instructions for each machine used at a work location is one of the most common program deficiencies identified by OSHA.
Once a written document exits, companies then need to instruct their employees in all aspects of the procedure. Higher-ups in the company should also perform periodic inspections to ensure all employees understand and follow the Lockout/Tagout procedures explained to them. Supervisors should ensure employees are following OSHA requirements as well as the instructions specific to the machine on which they are working.
Many products are available to assist companies with locking out equipment. When choosing a device, companies should ensure the product accounts for each of the compliance and safety components outlined by OSHA:
- Employee notification of lockout intentions
- A review of the lockout procedure for a specific machine
- The execution of a normal machine stop
- Energy control shutdown
- Energy control lockout
- The dissipation of stored energy
- Identifying zero-energy state before beginning work on equipment
Employees who suffer injuries in the workplace may face extended recovery times and difficulty supporting their families. Injured workers may benefit from a consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney.