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Lockout/Tagout Safety on the Jobsite Part 1

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Without energy like electricity on jobsites, nothing would get done, but just because it’s common does not mean it’s always safe. Electrocution is one of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) “Fatal Four” in the construction field. However, all energy hazards, not only electricity, need to be taken seriously. It can be found in many different forms; electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, thermal, or chemical.

According to OSHA, correct application of lockout/tagout (LOTO) prevents around 120 deaths and 50,000 injuries per year. Workers who are injured by hazardous energy spend an average of 24 days out of work while recovering.

An Orlando construction attorney explains the basics of how lockout/tagout can affect your workers in this two-part article. Read part two to find out more about LOTO devices.

What is LOTO?

Lockout/tagout is a safety procedure used to keep workers safe by turning off machines and isolating the power source while maintenance is performed. This keeps others from accidentally starting the machine while a worker is performing service. The individual who places the lock or tag is the only person who should remove that lock or tag.

LOTO and Your Workers

Requirements to protect workers performing services are located in 29 CFR 1910.333. This section addresses practices for safe work even while exposed to electrical hazards, like conductors or electrical systems.

Workers on your site will fall into one of three categories:

  • Authorized workers: perform LOTO, maintenance or service
  • Affected workers: regularly work with the machinery that has been locked or tagged
  • Other workers: must be trained to recognize the signage

Most of the employees on your site will probably be “affected workers” or “other workers.” The most important thing is to educate workers and make sure they understand what the lock or tags mean so they do not place themselves or others in danger. They need to understand that tampering with the locks or tags could result in OSHA violations, injury, or death.

This may mean that workers need to find alternative sources of energy. For instance, if a breaker in a panel box is locked and it controls an outlet, workers may need to find another outlet to use.

If you would like to speak with one of our Orlando construction attorneys, please contact us today.

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.