There’s always at least one scene a season in every sitcom where the male lead in all his infinite wisdom tries to fix a toaster with a knife while it’s plugged in. Or he’s not sure while working on a table saw blade if the power is off or not. In either case you know he’s going to give himself a severe shock or slice a finger off and everyone is going to have a good laugh. Except in real life it’s not funny! There were over 94,000 estimated saw related accidents in 2003 (1) and as little as 0.2 amps can make the heart fibrillate or beat in an uncontrolled manner which could result in death! (2)
Monica Thayer (attached article-Huffingtonpost)(3) began to clean a piece of machinery and unfortunately the equipment became active and her hair was caught and ripped off her scalp. Gross? Scare you? GOOD! Before any piece of equipment is worked on for any reason; cleaning a machine, clearing a jam, making a minor adjustment, replacing parts or making repairs if you don’t Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO) that machine you risk injured or lost fingers and/or hand, lost scalp or even death. You are not faster than the machine and the machine is an inanimate object, it can’t think and doesn’t know you’re there, it just does what it was made to do, but you are the one with the brain.
What ever time you think you’re saving by not walking to the fuse box or circuit breakers and locking it in the off position will be lost by your injury and more. Time lost by your absence while injured, time lost on machine operation while it’s cleaned of your body parts and blood and time lost for the investigation of the accident not to mention product not produced for your customers which has now become a burden on the other machine operators to make up the difference in production lost by the down unit.
Take the time and make sure everyone who operates or works on machinery and equipment is issued a Lock Out Tag Out set. You can find them in any safety equipment catalog and they make them for just about every application needed. Work with H.R. to write procedures for LOTO and then train, train and train. And I don’t mean tell them to LOTO. i mean you go to the piece of equipment and ask for a volunteer to actually demonstrate to everyone else how and where to properly LOTO that specific piece of equipment and then document all training with a sign in sheet. It could also become part of new employee packet like forklift training for new warehouse employees. Must be trained before allowed to operate any machinery.
Everybody should go home in the same condition they arrived at work, in one piece. Help a friend stay that way and insist they LOTO to stop preventable accidents.
– Photos of hand injuries by saws. Graphic. It’s meant to make you think.