Have you attended your Team Meeting this month? Our latest focus is Lockout/Tagout. I know, most of you have heard this one before… four times a year to be exact. It’s that important to everyone’s safety. Today, let’s take a look at your role in Lockout/Tagout.

Lockout/Tagout is about teamwork. Every team member is an “affected employee” based on the definition from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). That’s a term you want to remember. If you aren’t trained to put a lock on a piece of equipment, that means you are an “affected employee.”

So what? How do you really play a role if you cannot put a lock on a piece of equipment and do the maintenance? Well, let’s think about it. Your manager, whom you work with every day, has their hands in the conveyor at the exit end of the wash. You are at the entrance end of the wash with a car ready to roll. You have no idea what is going on at the exit end of the wash and start the conveyor. Your manager will be proud you are keeping the line moving, right?? The manager’s hands are still in the conveyor. Your manager, and teammate, is hurt. No one means for that to happen. With a little communication and teamwork, this could be prevented.

There is an easy solution to keep everyone safe. That’s Lockout/Tagout. That’s teamwork.

Steps to remember:

  1. “Authorized employee(s),” those trained to perform the steps of lockout/tagout, give you the heads up that lockout/tagout is about to begin.
  2. Locks are in place so no one can start the equipment.
  3. You do not touch or try to start the equipment.
  4. The “authorized employee(s)” takes off the lock(s) to test the equipment.
  5. You still do not touch or try to start the equipment in question.
  6. Testing is complete and the equipment works.
  7. The “authorized employee(s)” lets you know that the work is complete.
  8. The “authorized employee(s)” takes off the lock(s).

This month, when you feel like you have heard this topic before, remember your teammates and that we all have the Key to Safety.

Written by Gina Houser, Safety, Health & Risk Manager