Each year when OSHA reports its most frequently violated standards, the control of hazardous energy, also known as lockout tagout (1910.147) consistently appears high on the list of greatest offenders. In fact, despite the immense danger to machine operators and workers, citations for improper lockout tagout procedures ranked fifth on OSHA’s 2018 top 10 most frequently cited standards list, with nearly 3,000 violations.
Lockout tagout is a procedure that is used across industries, including manufacturing, utilities, medical facilities, food service and research settings, to help guarantee machinery is deenergized or shut down while maintenance is being performed. In order to prioritize the safety of employees, the energy is isolated to prevent accidental startup, as well as possible injuries to anyone working on the machine. Most business operators agree that a lockout tagout program is an ideal way to keep employees safe and is a smart policy to implement, but often find it is not as easy to put into practice. In reality, business owners and safety managers can execute a successful lockout tagout program with three simple steps; drafting a formal policy, purchasing quality equipment and training employees on procedure.