The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout-Tagout) regulation first went into effect in 1989. The intent of the standard was to prevent injuries and deaths caused by accidental start-up of equipment during maintenance or servicing. In large part, the standard has been successful and can be attributed to saving an estimated 122 lives and preventing over 28,000 injuries each year, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Even with this success, OSHA recognizes that many employers are still deficient in some areas.
When a compliance officer conducts an inspection, they will more than likely request a copy of your written lockout-tagout program. OSHA’s compliance directive identifies three key elements that should be in place:
Occasionally, we hear employee complaints about the necessity of lockout-tagout. In your organization, you may hear things like:
These are common misconceptions. It’s important that employees understand the gravity of proper lockout-tagout procedures so they don’t become complacent.
An OSHA study of 833 lockout-tagout-related injuries was conducted to determine what employees were doing at the time of their accidents, and the activities ranked as follows:
Many are surprised that some routine tasks such as cleaning, adjusting, or unjamming a piece of equipment can cause unexpected startup of equipment. It’s important that these types of tasks are not overlooked when reviewing lockout-tagout procedures.
There have been some recent discussions regarding OSHA updating the standard to account for technology advances with robotics and control circuit devices. OSHA is currently collecting data from employers to determine if any additional lockout-tagout controls are needed at this time.
Nick assists clients with their day-to-day risk management and safety needs.
Nick assists clients with their day-to-day risk management and safety needs. He provides OSHA compliance assistance, DOT and fleet safety management, facility safety and health audits, and safety committee development. These initiatives have helped clients reduce workplace injuries and ensure regulatory compliance. In addition to his role in loss control, Nick is a passionate claims advocate. He monitors and negotiates large, complex property, liability and workers’ compensation claims with the insurance companies and independent claims adjusters. He also assists with the information exchange between contractors or occupational medicine teams, insurance adjusters, employee claimants, and client contacts. This daily claims management provides tighter reserves, more proactive risk management with all affected parties and, in the case of a workers’ compensation claim, earlier return to work and expense reductions.
If you could give human form to your safety culture, what would it look like?
Maybe it would be a thick-set, shirtless brute named Trog with a foul disposition beating out a drum cadence to keep your employees rowing in-sync.
Or would it be more like a fussy and constantly disapproving Dickensian paper-pusher named Fizzlewhite who has never met a rule or procedure he didn’t like, even though he hasn’t done most of the things he creates rules to address?
If you were to search the various “mommy blogs” and parenting advice websites out there, how many of them do you think would endorse the following practice?
A child’s safety should always be a top priority for any parent. When leaving children under the age of 10 alone in the house for lengthy periods of time, be sure to provide the kids with a loaded pistol with the safety off in case a stranger should happen by. In a pinch, recently sharpened knives can be substituted for the pistol.
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