Santa received a notice of violation(1910.147) Lockout/Tagout and this is serious enough to be #4 on OSHA’s TopTen violations for 2019.
Lockout/Tagout or LOTO as it’s also known as is a pretty important safety feature that prevents unexpected operation of a piece of equipment while you are working on it. You see the scene played over and over on comedies, One guy is working on an electrical issue and his friend comes over and flips on the light switch leading to shock and laughter but imagine the horror on your face if a packaging machine with moving belts and rotating filler spouts suddenly started up while you were up to your elbows in the machines main compartment!
Or worse, clearing a jam on a belt in a machine and because you thought you would save time by just reaching in clearing it quickly, but as you clear it the belt suddenly lurches and takes two fingers with it. This actually happened at a food manufacturing plant and I can assure you that no elves were injured during the writing of this post.
This is why as I’ve said before and will again and yet again training is critical to a great safety program. It’s not enough to just turn off the power with the flip of a switch before servicing the machine, you want to make absolutely positively sure that no one but YOU can turn the power back on before your work is done.
That’s why this year Santa will be giving his machine operators, maintenance elves, and fore-elves the gift of their own LOTO sets. Santa wants to do the training of LOTO correctly so he will have his machine operators do an actual LOTO demonstration for the group for each piece of equipment.
Whenever you need to do maintenance, adjustments, line changes or clear a jam you must Lockout/Tagout the equipment so it can not operate while you work on it.
- Determine where to cut the power and use your lock. Your tag should have your name and department on it along with what ever other information the company wants. Some want employee number, so anyone coming by knows you are the person working on that machine and initiated the lockout.
- In most cases, you pull the lever of the circuit breaker down so you can lock it in the off position. In some older facilities, you may not find circuit breakers to lockout. Find and pull the fuses and use the special fuse lockout. Before beginning make sure the machine is totally deenergized as some parts mid-stroke may still move.
- Each additional worker who needs to service the machine along with you also needs to lock out the same source of power as you. As they finish their segment they can then remove their lock until the last person responsible for the project removes their lock and returns power.
- Never remove your lock until the work is completed.
- Never give your key to your lock to anyone else. Only YOU can unlock it. If you have to leave have your relief lock out the power source with their lock and then you can remove yours.
- Never allow anyone to bully you into removing your lock before work is completed.
- As with all training, document it with signatures of attendees and the material covered.
Now that we know all about LOTO. Thursday: On the Eighth Day.