The reality of the construction site is that a certain level of care and attention to detail is needed to maintain safety. While safety is assumed in many workplaces, it must be actively pursued on a job site. Part of that pursuit is the use of lockout/tagout devices for construction machinery.
What Are Lockout/Tagout Procedures?
Energy control procedures, including lockout/tagout activities, must be designed by employers to ensure that machinery is removed from its energy source when being serviced and/or that warnings are posted about the potential for unexpected start-up or release of energy.
Lockout: The installation of a device on a machine that blocks the flow of energy to it.
Tagout: The placement of a warning tag stating a machine is not to be activated while servicing, whether it’s being blocked from an energy source or not.
Why Are Lockout/Tagout Procedures So Important?
All construction machinery needs to be serviced occasionally. However, certain machines, if not properly removed from a power source, can unexpectedly activate while being serviced, potentially causing harm to employees. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), six percent of all workplace deaths resulted from the unexpected activation of a machine. To protect employees, OSHA requires companies to put systems in place to protect construction workers from the reactivation of machinery. The procedures not only save lives but can protect your company from receiving an OSHA citation. However, should you receive an OSHA citation, for any reason, contact one of our OSHA attorneys as soon as possible.
Steps for Setting Up Energy Control Procedures
When creating a program that protects employees from unexpected machine activation, the following procedures should be put in place:
- Establish lockout/tagout procedures, including which procedure is most appropriate (not all devices can be locked out and require you to solely create warning tags), who will administer procedures, and what devices will be used.
- Train employees on the application, use, and removal procedures for lockout/tagout devices. Also, train employees who are not involved in this process but work in the area with specific machines on how to proceed when lockout/tagout is taking place.
- Reevaluate these procedures on a yearly basis to test effectiveness and to ensure that they are being followed correctly.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.