OSHA Regulations: Lock Out Tag Out

By Jason Chan on October 29th, 2014 @ 10:09 am

Many people hear the words “workplace injury” and instantly think of injuries like lacerations, force trauma, and falls. That’s exactly why proper lockout/tagout procedures are so crucial in making a safer work site. Out of the fatal four in the construction industry, electrocution sits at the third most common cause of death, right under falling and being struck by an object. Even after electrocutions, hazardous energies in many different forms account for almost 10% of all industry related injuries. (OSHA)

The main caveat of all of this? Implementing employee training and lockout/tagout programs can prevent thousands of injuries yearly.

Here are the most important standards of the (1910.147) OSHA LO/TO regulations. We’ve condensed them to include more specific subsections in fewer words.

  1. These standards don’t cover the normal operation of machinery. Instead, they’re made to cover maintenance and repair in specific cases.
  2. If an employee has to remove or bypass safety devices/guards – or – has to place any part of their body on or in a part of a machine otherwise dangerous while operating, then Lo/To procedures are a must.
  3. If the machine is energized by cord and plug and the employee has exclusive control of that plug, then these standards do not apply, as harm is easily avoidable by deactivation/disconnection.
  4. Employers must have programs in place to train employees on energy control procedures. Any machine that could be hazardous if it were to activate or operate during maintenance or repair must first be inspected and rendered inoperable prior to maintenance.
  5. If a machine can be locked out, then a lockout system must be utilized in the workplace while the machine undergoes maintenance or repair.
  6. If the machine cannot be locked out, then a tag out system must be utilized while the machine undergoes maintenance or repair. The tag out device must be used in the same location as the lockout device would otherwise be used.
  7. Durability of those devices is imperative. The work site can present some serious environmental rigor, and having a device break or fail during maintenance can present the same safety hazards as before utilization.
  8. Tags are simply warning signs and do nothing to prevent operation (unlike locks). Tags are not to be bypassed by anyone.
  9. Only the authorized person who placed the device is allowed to remove it after the maintenance/repair period (unless they are unavailable, in which case the employer may direct it to be removed, considering training for those cases have been developed and implemented into the program).

Though these are not all of the subsets of the standard, they’re the first and most important ones to consider. It’s always important that you stay updated on regulations and proper utilization of standards. Get educated with the full OSHA standards list and stay safe!



Tragic Worksite Blast Injures Five: Could it have Been Prevented?

By Jeffrey Ling on October 27th, 2014 @ 4:28 pm

According to Global News, an industrial facility in Sarnia, Ontario has seen a dangerous explosion and fire.  Four workers were injured and one was taken to a hospital in critical condition.  He passed away soon after.

The explosion started a fire which seriously burned several workers.  The explosion itself caused a partial collapse of the roof, which could have resulted in more fatalities had any workers been near the collapse.  In this case, there is no good news.  Whenever workers are injured, their lives are at stake.  Whether it’s from faulty machinery or improper work site procedures, it’s imperative to be cautious around machinery and hazardous materials.

No reports as of yet have found the cause of this accident, though they have ruled out any chemicals or gas explosions.  Though speculation points to faulty machinery being the origin of the explosion, an important question remains: could this tragedy have been prevented?

Innocent lives are lost every year to fatal workplace accidents.  This is just an isolated case out of hundreds reported by OSHA annually.  These tragedies, in this day and age, could be avoided with the proper tools and procedures. That’s exactly why Master Lock introduced Field iD.

Field iD is a customizable application that makes auditing and inspecting easier than ever.  With this invaluable tool, you can keep your workers safer than ever before and prevent the most common workplace risks.  With Field iD, supervisors and workers can manage and stay tuned to all the changes and inspections at the work site and beyond. Here are just a few ways Field iD can help you keep your workers safe and machinery running smoothly:

Scheduling tools: Keep track of your inspection and audit due-dates.  Stay ahead and prepared for your inspections so you can pass on-time with flying colors.

Paperless Audits and Inspections: Field iD will keep your inspections organized with checklists and one-click audits.  The paperless model allows for seamless knowledge at your fingertips so you can always stay ahead of faulty machinery, parts, and assets.  With more detailed and efficient audits and inspections, you can expect a much safer and more informed work place.

Organize your assets: Whether it’s machinery or equipment, stay on top of all of your assets with Field iD.  Assign assets to specific work sites and even workers and keep updated with the check-in/check-out functionality.  Make sure that your workers have the right tools for the job.

Safety Scoring: Go above and beyond pass-fail with safety scoring. Keeping your operation in top shape with our automated sliders and scoring query is as easy as filling out a checklist.  Customize your scoring to your work site needs and keep your jobs running smoothly.

Lockout/Tagout: Our software is an incredible lockout/tagout tool that reinforces safety procedures by giving you the power to author and assign tasks to staff.  Keeping organized can be the biggest issue with lockout/tagout procedures, but our networked software makes it easier and safer.  From assignment to review, our system is built robustly for those who want a safer workplace for their employees.

Remember that the workplace is as dangerous as the procedures are. Preventing risk while you are ahead is the best way to keep your employees safe at work.  To learn more about Field iD from Master Lock, click here.



More Must-Know Fall Protection Requirements & Tips

By Jason Chan on October 23rd, 2014 @ 11:27 am

If you haven’t read the first part of this series and need a refresher on common fall protection standards, visit our Fall Protection for a Safer Workplace article.

            Now that we’ve gone over some of the general rules and regulations for heightened surfaces, we can dive into the more nuanced necessities for keeping employees safe from other falls around the workplace.

Falls from ladders, as you could imagine, account for many workplace injuries. Things like slippery surfaces, improper placement, and (unfortunately) defective equipment have caused serious injuries and death among industrial work sites. Here are some tips and standards for the work site that can prevent the worst cases.

 

Slipping Hazards

 

  • Slipping hazards like oil, grease, and even water can be extremely dangerous when employees are working on ladders. Employees should be aware of any slippery materials on any rung of the ladder and should remove them (and maintain their dryness) by any means.
  • It’s just as important to assure that the floor is free of any slippery materials. Those ladders with slip-resistant feet are always a good bet, but they don’t mitigate the risk completely. If at all possible, the slipping hazard should be removed as completely as possible and ladders should be properly tied or lashed whenever necessary.

 

Proper Usage

 

  • There is a right way and a wrong way to use a ladder, yet it’s so common to see workers improperly working with ladders. It’s no surprise that these improper uses so commonly end in injury. First and foremost, the ladder should always be held by at least one hand. In order to cut time, many workers sometimes carry materials in both hands while trying to remain balanced. Something as simple as making two trips can save lives.
  • When climbing the ladder, it’s imperative that employees face forward. Climbing down ladders like stairs is one of the easiest ways to slip and can cause devastating injuries. Although it’s commonly denoted on the top shelf of a ladder, some workers still use it to get a bit more reach. Anyone who sees this should be quick in acting to get them off. With no support on that top shelf, it’s nearly impossible to prevent a fall once it starts.

 

Specific Requirements

 

  • If an area is only accessible by ladder and 25 or more employees are set to work in that area, double-cleated ladders (or two or more ladders) should be provided for two-way traffic to and from the site.
  • When the ladder in in position, every part (rungs, feet, and steps) must be spaced evenly and inspected to assure sturdiness. Inspection also includes checking surfaces for sharp points that may cause clothing snags or cuts and lacerations.
  • Do not tie ladders together in order to create longer ladders unless the ladders are specifically built for that usage.

 

Though these are just a few examples of safety precautions you can take around ladders, there’s plenty more to digest. If you want a more in-depth primer after our refresher, you can to read up Ladder and Stairway stands standards straight from OSHA.



Fall Protection for a Safer Workplace

By Jason Chan on October 21st, 2014 @ 12:07 pm

 

According to OSHA, over 100,000 workers are injured every year due to falls on the work site. If those numbers doesn’t surprise you, the annual reports for fall-related deaths are tragic; work-site falls account for 150 to 200 deaths yearly (on average). That’s why it’s so important that employers take extra caution with platforms and high work-surfaces.

 

By adhering to OSHA guidelines for fall protection, employers can avoid common OSHA violations and – more importantly – preventable workplace injuries. As always, the advice we give in our articles is a condensed refresher of common safety requirements under OSHA. For a more inclusive refresher after the article, we recommend heading to the OSHA standards page for more complete information.

 

Reducing the Risk and Preventing the Worst

 

1. The first and most important step in preventing falls is the proper training of employees. Those who are trained are prone to be more cautious and knowledgeable when working in dangerous conditions.

 

2. Ensure that heightened work-surfaces are stable and properly built. Scaffolding, platforms, and other surfaces showing signs of instability or weakness should never be used. Not only could workers fall from unstable surfaces – the platforms or scaffolding themselves can be a danger to any workers under them.

 

2. Fall protection systems must be in place when workers are on surfaces above: 4 feet in general industry, 5 feet at shipyards, and 6 feet at construction work sites. Fall protection at these heights may include, but are not limited to: safety nets, railings, and toe-guards.
3. Toe-boards and guard rails must be provided if workers are suspended over dangerous equipment or machinery. This rule comes in effect no matter the height over the machine.

 

4. Holes or weak spots in the workplace should be clearly marked and blocked off with railings or sturdy covers. Floors must be kept as dry as possible or marked off where wet to prevent slips and falls.

 

5. If workers are required use stilts or step-ladders on a heightened surface, the railings present for protection must be increased in height. This increase must be equal to the height of the stilts.

 

Though these are common and necessary requirements, the most important thing to remember is that caution plays the biggest part in prevention. Surfaces and protection systems should be inspected before usage. Workers should always report any findings on the work site and these should be fixed, blocked off, or replaced as soon as possible.

 

Fall protection encompasses many industrial standards for OSHA. Subparts concerning ladders, roofing, and excavation are just as important as common safety compliance standards. We’ll cover more standards in the second part of our fall-protection series.

 



Lockout/Tagout: During and After

By Jason Chan on October 14th, 2014 @ 2:22 pm

The dangers of improper lockout/tagout procedures go far past electrical shock. Things like hydraulics and chemicals also play a big part in many work site injuries. If you haven’t read our regulations primer in the lockout/tagout series of posts, click here. It has a few tips and common regulations for Lo/To that you should know. Otherwise, read on to find out the best ways to stay safe during lockout/tagout procedures and how to ensure normal operation goes smoothly.

 

Here are some hazardous energies that cause workplace injuries other than electricity:

 

Extreme heat and cold: Machinery tends to get very, very hot during operation (and stay that way long after shutdown). Workers should always wait and check for heat sources before working on unguarded parts for a machine. Things like engines and piping can cause serious burns to the touch.

Gasses are also considered a hazardous energy source, and their sudden release under pressure can burn or freeze the skin.

 

Chemicals: Although the obvious danger regarding chemicals is direct contact, many machines that use  chemicals can create harmful and sometimes subtle fumes. These fumes can start fires or cause asphyxiation/blackouts. Workers maintaining or repairing machines should always release these chemicals before starting to lower the risk of possible burns and fainting. Respirators might be necessary working around machines which use more chemicals/gasses.

 

Stored Energy: Even after machinery is shut down, unplugged, and locked, stored pressure still poses a serious threat. Pressurized pistons or hydraulics can suddenly release causing injury or death during maintenance. The machine should be tested after shut down to ensure that no post-shutdown operation could cause any sudden release of energy.

 

Once maintenance or repairs are completed, workers must ensure that they’ve properly set back up for normal operation. Here are the most common steps to ensure the safety of workers after normal operation begins again:

 

  1. Equipment must be inspected by the worker to ensure that all guards and safety mechanisms are in place.
  2. Any tools or extra materials the worker brought to the machine must be removed from the surrounding area before startup.
  3. Others in the area must be informed that the machine will be started up.
  4. Connections necessary to system operation must be reconnected and locks & tags removed by the worker who placed them. (Or, as shown in the previous article, someone with authority to remove them at the discretion of the worker who placed them).
  5. Once all conditions for normal operation have been met, proceed with startup.

 

The most important thing to remember about operating machinery and lockout/tagout is that safety comes from diligence. Workers must be alert and take care in how they work through procedures. With proper training and supervision, lives can be saved and injuries avoided.

Categories: Lock Out Tag Out


Six Must-Read Safety Compliance Tips

By Jason Chan on October 9th, 2014 @ 3:19 pm

Let’s face it: we’re bound to make mistakes every once in a while. That’s why it’s so important to comply with safety standards. Even small things can lead to big consequences, and staying alert can prevent the worst cases of on-site injury. These compliance tips will help you keep your job site up to industry standards and make the working environment safer.

 

1. Keep employees trained and refreshed:

A trained employee is bound to be safer than one who has been improperly briefed. It may be obvious, but keeping each and every employee in the know is an absolute must. Training on emergency plans, safety standards, and refresher training will help employees avoid the most easily preventable accidents.

2. Analysis and surveying:

Just as it’s important to train employees, it’s important to understand the worksite. This means that employees should be briefed about every work site, and each work site should be analyzed for hazards. This way, before work begins, employees are aware of any known dangers and prepared to work around/ fix these known issues.

3. Recordkeeping:

Injury is difficult for employers and employees alike. Properly documenting workplace injuries and illnesses for possible reporting is a smart way to prevent things from cropping up in the future.

4. Develop an Emergency Plan

Employees in an emergency situation can be seriously injured if not properly prepared. Developing a plan in case of fire or other emergency can save lives. Every employee should be properly briefed at every work site. Evacuation, route assignments, and shutdown of critical operations are just a few of the considerations one should make to keep employees safe.

5. Follow Standards for an A-Grade inspection

Every employee has the right to a safe workplace under OSHA standards. This means that if an employee feels at risk, he or she can contact OSHA to perform a work site inspection. Keeping your work site consistently safe increases safety for those working and reduces risk of a citation for employers.

6. Learn the most common violations and keep alert

Accidents happen, but many are preventable. OSHA has been populating lists of common safety violations. Since these are the ones that are most commonly overlooked, we recommend reading through our (link)top twelve most common violations(link) for a refresher on these all-too common mistakes.

Categories: OSHA | Safety Compliance


Top 12 OSHA Violations You Should Know

By Jason Chan on October 6th, 2014 @ 2:22 pm

In the industrial sector, you have to be exacting when it comes to safety standards. Aside from the risk of serious injury, it can cost your company thousands of dollars if something goes wrong. Here’s a list of the top 12 most commonly cited violations on the job. Adhering to safety standards means you’ll risk less injury and save your company from the most common safety citations.

1 – 1926.501 (Fall Protection)
Falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction sector. Adhering to rigorous standards to protect workers can save lives and companies. Whether residential or commercial construction,  fall protection requires that safety systems be installed on the job site. The risk for work that takes place 6 feet from the next level has to be properly mitigated with installations that prevent falls and proper supervision of employees.

2 – 1910.1200 (Hazard Communication)
A properly trained worker is a safer worker. Labeling, communication, and knowledge of hazardous materials is an absolute must in the workplace. Workplace chemicals can cause irritation, damage, and even death in the worst cases. Every employee must be properly trained and knowledgeable about every chemical or material they come in contact with in order to adhere to safety standards.

3 – 1925.451 (Scaffolding)
Scaffolding is one of the most obvious and common safety violations in the industry. If there are large spaces in between planks and large, open edges between railings, it’s a red flag. In order for scaffolding to follow safety standards, it must be properly designed, built, and fully planked from rail to rail. Fall protection for scaffolding begins at 10 feet above a lower level.

4 – 1910.134 (Respiratory Protection)
In order to keep workers safe in environments with difficult breathing conditions, respirators are a necessity. Properly implemented protection programs keep workers safe in hazardous conditions where dust and particles may otherwise enter their respiratory system. Fit-testing and medical examinations are an important part of the process that ensures employees can properly use the respirator. Choosing quality respirators that adhere to safety standards is a must.

5 – 1910.305 (Electrical – Wiring Methods)
Just as in Lockout/Tagout safety procedures, utmost care must be taken when electrical wiring is involved. Proper grounding can prevent deadly workplace shocks, and insulation and proper installation is a necessity. This violation also takes into account the manner in which conductors have been routed, and the requirements for wire covers/canopies.

6 – 1910.178 (Powered Industrial Trucks)
Industrial machinery is an inherent danger on the job, and improper handling is not an option. Employees must be re-trained and evaluated on a standard basis, trucks (and machinery like forklifts) must be repaired before safe operation is guaranteed, and each newly acquired machine must be examined before use.

7 – 1926.1053 (Ladders)
Ladders are sometimes improperly used in the workplace, and this violation stands as a crucial yet common one that should be avoided. Ladders should only be used as intended. Their siderails should extend three feet off the landing surface to ensure proper support. The top step of a stepladder should never be used as a step, and defective ladders must be taken out of service until repaired. Often overlooked, employees who are carrying heavy objects or objects that may cause a loss of balance are prohibited from climbing any workplace ladder.

8 – 1910.147 (Lockout/Tagout)
Machinery can be dangerous when improperly handled, but an often overlooked danger is the energy used to power it. Energy control is imperative in keeping employees safe from high voltages and other dangers, and it requires training, proper communication, and lockout/tagout devices to ensure the highest risk mitigation.

9 – 1910.303 (Electrical – General Requirements)
Labeled equipment must be installed according to the instructions included. Working space around electrical equipment must be sufficient enough for employees to safely maintain and operate it. Live parts must be properly blocked and/or guarded and all equipment must be free of any possible serious hazards.

10 – 1910.212 (Machine Guarding)
Protecting workers from sparks and rotating parts on large machinery is a must if the machine is a possible hazard. If machines are to be set at a fixed location, they must be anchored to ensure no movement occurs. Blades are required to be guarded. The employees in the machine area must have sufficient space to work around the machine and the guarding must be set in place to prevent any inherent hazards.

11 – 1926.652 (Excavations)
Excavations can be extremely dangerous if improperly prepared for. Sloping and benching systems are a necessity. Trenching hazards in which improperly designed openings can cave in on workers are more common than they should be in the industry. There are also a plethora of other hazards in excavation such as toxic fumes and lack of oxygen.

12 – 1910.272 (Grain Handling Facilities)
Combustion is a serious concern in grain handling facilities. Fine grain dust can combust and cause fatal explosions. Ignition sources and grain accumulation are two of the most common culprits in serious injury in these facilities. There is also a serious risk of engulfment, and employees should be properly harnessed when entering a grain storage structure from above.

There are, of course, more violations, but these are less common. Many times, these violations could be completely avoided if employers put in the work to ensure safety. In order to lower the risk to employees, employers need to concentrate on the seemingly smaller issues that result in serious injury.