Safety precautions are important to have in the workplace to ensure that people don’t get hurt on the job as much as it can be prevented. Especially when it comes to industries that work with hazardous machines, it’s always critical to have policies in place to protect everyone.
You enter the inner parts of a big machine to perform some maintenance or a regular inspection, but the other workers don’t know there is someone still inside and they turn on the machine! What will happen?
You are working high above the ground by scaffold. Who can make sure that the scaffold regular inspection will guarantee your safety when using it?
There is a multiple management operation requirement in your department, and the source of power needs you and your partners. Your manager authorizes everyone to open it together, how will you do it?
There are so many water, gas, or oil valves, a variety of electrical buttons, circuit breakers, and different types of electrical equipment/appliances in your plant or department. How will you manage to ensure everything is under the correct position, without risk of any accidental activation in order to avoid a industrial injury?
All the answer is, you need a Lockout/Tagout Program to:
Lock/tag the power & inform anyone else you are still in the machine inner or other parts, the Scaffold Tagging System to do the scientific management, the customized master key system to easily solve the multiple management problem, the universal or special electrical & button lockouts to make all of them correctly turn on/turn off.
So, What is Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) Procedure?
Lockout/Tagout is a safety system that requires machines to be shut off and incapable of being started up again before they have been fixed, it can be also called as LOTO.
Lockout Tagout refers to a training process that enables employees to keep away from accidents at the job site. You may regard it as a safety procedure, ensuring that the machines posing potential threat to your employees are shut off. Often, employees get injured at the workplace as the power supply of machines remain on, even when they think that the connection is off. Lockout-Tagout (LOTO) is the process, which trains up the employees to maintain the safety standards at the workplace. The training is important, as it can prevent injuries through cuts, burns, shocks, electrocution, and pinches. Successful incorporation can save several lives at the workplace.
There are six basic components to a lockout/tagout procedure:
Firstly, the methods, rules, and purposes are all used for controlling the energy coming out of a piece of equipment, device, or machine, and everyone must be required to operate the lockout tagout program every time. (Preparation)
Secondly, steps to shut down the equipment must be clearly written out for all employees or other personnel who work with the machinery. (Shutdown)
Thirdly, the steps for isolating and controlling the hazardous energy and parts of the machine are clearly stated and known by all persons who come in contact with the device. (Isolation)
Fourthly, steps for the placement and removal of the lockout/tagout devices are intact and familiar with all employees and other personnel. (Lockout/Tagout)
Fifthly, the steps to test the machine and confirm that it is officially locked out are stated in some form of literature. (Stored Energy)
Lastly, Isolation Verification as a safety confirmation. (Isolation Verification)
These rules are all essential for having a lockout/tagout system in place, as it is what promotes safety in an otherwise dangerous work environment.
What is Hazardous Energy?
Hazardous energy is the main reason for setting up a lockout/tagout system. This could range from anything from electrical, chemical, hydraulic, pneumatic, thermal and mechanical sources that can be found in machinery or equipment. During the times that these machines or equipment are needing to be serviced, a system has to be in place to ensure that the energy from them will not injure or kill the workers who use them. Before a machine can be properly fixed, it must be locked out/tagged out so that it is not capable of being used again before it is repaired. Without a lockout/tagged out system, some injuries that can occur include burns, crushing, cutting, amputating, fracturing limbs, and electrocution.
What is OSHA?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA, was designed with the intention to prevent workers from getting injured on the job. This is especially true for those employees who work in industrial atmospheres and are involved with using heavy machinery, or other hazards, on a day to day basis. This act was created to set and enforce a set of policies to protect all people on the job and promote safety and health standards. To assist with making sure that a workplace stays within their code, OSHA also gives all workers the right to be properly trained on how to avoid being harmed, witness testing and get results for tests performed to look for hazards in the environment, review records of work-related injuries, and request OSHA to exam their workplace for hazards. It’s important to note that the majority of the people that OSHA covers are employees or private sectors, not those who work for the state and local governments. The federal organizations have their own safety and health programs for their work environments, although OSHA will respond to workers’ complaints if anything outstanding occurs.
What are OSHA’s Standards for Lockout/Tagout?
When it comes to lockout/tagout procedures for OSHA’s standards, the devices that are able to be locked out the need to be situated this way during the time that they are inoperable. If a hazardous machine or device cannot be locked out, it then must be tagged out. This is only valid if the tagout program is able to give employees protection that is equal to what it would be if the machine is locked out. New or overhauled equipment is also required to be inspected for lockout capabilities prior to getting used to ensure that workers aren’t exposed to harmful situations in their environments. If the equipment is not able to be locked out, the company but develop, implement and enforce a tagout system before being used. In addition to that, only lockout/tagout equipment, machines, and devices that are authorized and pass inspection may be used. These items need to be durable, standardized, and substantial for the work that they will be doing.
It’s also important to note that lockout/tagout procedures may be different when it comes to your various pieces of equipment or machines. Even though the principle of lockout/tagout is virtually the same for all devices, it’s critical to pay attention to the details for each piece for their steps to following the program. The key thing is to ensure that every machine is shut down fully and cannot be operated again until it has been serviced or looked at by a professional mechanic.
What Does Lockout/Tagout Mean for My Business?
It is important that your business or company has a lockout/tagout system in place if you are housing equipment that can be a potential danger or hazard to your employees. There are so many variables of accidents that can happen at work, and in order to keep the safest environment possible, such a system has to be developed and put into action. The number one way to prevent accidents is by being prepared and having a set plan just in case something like this would happen. Especially when it comes to industrial equipment, practicing the lockout/tagout system is definitely one to incorporate in your business policies. This practice can save lives and strongly reduce the number of injuries that happen in the workplace. As a part of this rule, having your employees familiar with how to perform the lockout/tagout process is extremely important. Not only will your workers feel safer coming to work, but the chances of something happening to them, or your company’s standing in the public eye getting defamed, is significantly reduced. And, as most business people know, having delays at work from injuries or worse can cause a delay in company productivity. Of course, the first and foremost issue is keeping employees safe, but this is yet another thing to consider.
What Would Happen if My Business Didn’t Have Lockout/Tagout?
Any business that works in an industrial, construction or hazardous field needs to have a lockout/tagout system implemented, Why? If this wouldn’t be in place, all kinds of accidents could occur.
Firstly and most obvious, an employee might accidentally use a machine that isn’t in a condition to run. If a broken machine isn’t locked out/tagged out, a worker might use it and get injured if there is no way to distinguish it from properly running machines. Having a lockout/tagout system ensures that another line of communication with the rest of the workers is in place, and allows everyone to know which devices are safe to use and which ones are not. In addition to that, even if a piece of equipment is labeled that it is inoperable, someone might still use it on accident anyway. This is why the lockout feature is essential because it makes it impossible for someone to use it before it is worked on and repaired to a functional status. Companies without a safety system in order may also face lawsuits or addition problems if operations are not in compliance with OSHA rules.
To sum everything up, all businesses need to have a lockout/tagout system in place. This is to ensure that all employees can come to work knowing that they are safe and have a plan for taking action, should something go wrong with one of the machines, pieces of equipment, or devices. OSHA requires that all private sector businesses design and implement such a system because it’s essential to have safety be a priority in any environment where hazards can happen.
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