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Lockout/Tagout is Vital to Workplace Safety

Posted by Kimball Midwest on June 27, 2024

Tags: Products, Safety, Quality Products, National Safety Month

Today, as National Safety Month wraps up, we’re featuring a vital component of workplace safety and one that can often be overlooked when making a list of safety practices: lockout/tagout.


Technically called “The Control of Hazardous Energy” by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, lockout/tagout “addresses the practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment, thereby preventing the release of hazardous energy while employees perform servicing and maintenance activities.”


OSHA has developed a lockout/tagout factsheet to provide guidance on the subject. Here are a few of the key questions and answers:


Why is controlling hazardous energy sources important?


Employees servicing or maintaining machines or equipment may be exposed to serious physical harm or death if hazardous energy is not properly controlled. Craft workers, machine operators and laborers are among the three million workers who service equipment and face the greatest risk.


Compliance with the lockout/tagout standard prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation.


How can employers protect workers?


The lockout/tagout standard establishes the employer’s responsibility to protect employees from hazardous energy sources on machines and equipment during service and maintenance. The standard gives each employer the flexibility to develop an energy control program suited to the needs of the particular workplace and the types of machines and equipment being maintained or serviced. This is generally done by affixing the appropriate lockout or tagout devices to energy-isolating devices and by de-energizing machines and equipment.


What must employers do to protect workers?


The standards establish requirements that employers must follow when workers are exposed to hazardous energy while servicing and maintaining equipment and machinery.


Some of the most critical requirements from these standards include the following:

  • Develop, implement and enforce an energy control program.
  • Use lockout devices for equipment that can be locked out. Tagout devices may be used in place of lockout devices only if the tagout program provides worker protection equivalent to that provided through a lockout program.
  • Ensure that new or overhauled equipment is capable of being locked out.
  • Develop, implement and enforce an effective tagout program if machines or equipment are not capable of being locked out.
  • Use only lockout/tagout devices authorized for the particular equipment or machinery and ensure that they are durable, standardized and substantial.
  • Ensure that lockout/tagout devices identify the individual users.
  • Establish a policy that permits only the worker who applied a lockout/tagout device to remove it.
  • Provide effective training as mandated for all workers covered by the standard.
  • Comply with the additional energy control provisions in OSHA standards when machines or equipment must be tested or repositioned, when outside contractors work at the site, in group lockout situations, and during shift or personnel changes.

If your shop needs lockout/tagout supplies, your Kimball Midwest sales representative is ready to connect you with what you need. If you don’t have a rep, we can help you Find a Rep!

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