Selbyville, DE – Compliance with federal standards for lockout/tagout procedures and training could have prevented an amputation at a Delaware poultry facility. OSHA has found serious lockout/tagout violations at Mountaire poultry processing. OSHA inspected the facility in June after receiving a report that a worker’s finger was amputated while operating a packaging machine. Fines for the safety violations total nearly $40,000.
Federal inspectors found that the amputation was the result of serious violations associated with electrical and process safety management hazards, as well as deficiencies with the procedures meant to prevent accidental machine start-up or movement (known as lockout/tagout).
OSHA requires that employees be trained on lockout policies and procedures. Proper training ensures that the purpose and function of the energy control program are understood by employees and that the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage, and removal of the energy controls are acquired by employees.
Compliance with the federal 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. In a study conducted by the United Auto Workers (UAW), 20% of the fatalities (83 of 414) that occurred among their members between 1973 and 1995 were attributed to inadequate hazardous energy control procedures specifically, lockout/tagout procedures.
The terms Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) and Hazardous Energy Control/Control of Hazardous Energy refer to the same standard of preventing unexpected start up or movement of equipment. They are used interchangeably, although “Lockout” is more universally used in the United States as it is the term OSHA uses, while ANSI uses “Control of Hazardous Energy ” in their standard, which is used more often by non-US entities.
Violation of lockout-tagout (hazardous energy controls) are on OSHA’s Top 10 “Most Often Cited Violations” and Top 10 “Most Serious Violations” lists. While many companies have general written policies, they may be lacking the equipment specific procedures which provide workers with the specific steps to properly isolate energy sources. Lockout/Tagout fines are based on each piece of equipment, and therefore can add up to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The most common problem found in lockout/tagout compliance is the lack of written equipment specific procedures. Having a overall plan (company lockout/tagout policy) is only one part of compliance and does not bring a facility or plant into full compliance. Contact a Martin Technical Lockout Expert to get a lockout program evaluation or a quote on the services you need.
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