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Lockout Tagout: The No. 1 Most Cited Violation In The Manufacturing Industries

dateNovember 05, 2019

The manufacturing industry is expansive and encompasses everything from chemical manufacturing, mining, to food processing. As manufacturing involves many different workflows and companies, federal regulators frequently cite it as one of the most hazardous industries for employees. 

Failing to be in compliance and violating safety standards can be very costly to the lives of our employees and the livelihood of the businesses. Employers not only need to protect the health and safety of their workforce, but also the reputation of their businesses.

Here is a complete list of OSHA violations especially in manufacturing industries:

1.  Machine Guarding

Standard: 1910.212, 219 - General Requirements and Mechanical Power-transmission Apparatus
Number of Citations in 2018: 2,048

2.  Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)

Standard: 1910.147 - The Control of Hazardous Energy

Number of Citations in 2018: 1,356

3.  Hazard Communication (HAZCOM)

Standard: 1910.200

Number of Citations in 2018: 1,312

4.  Respiratory Protection

Standard: 1910.134

Number of Citations: 1,246

5.  Powered Industrial Trucks (PITs)

Standard: 1910.178

Number of Citations: 863

6.  Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Standard: 1926.100, 1926.102 - Head, Eye and Face Protection
Number of Citations: 432

7.  Walking and Working Surfaces

Standard: 1910.22

Number of Citations: 267

LOTO is considered as the No. 1 most cited violation in the Manufacturing industry:

According to the current statistical data, OSHA listed Lockout tagout violation as No. 1 most cited violation in the manufacturing industry, and 5th most cited violation in the general industries, out of all the above violations. Therefore, control of hazardous energies (lockout tagout) should not be taken lightly when it comes to safety in industrial facilities.  An organisation’s safety culture that does not support the proper and systematic way of isolating hazardous energies can face heavy fines, prosecution and even closure of the site in some cases. 

Despite elaborate recommendations and audits, fatalities still continue to occur, and their severities range from mild shocks and missing fingers to lost lives. According to OSHA, compliance with the lockout tagout standard prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. When It comes to workplace maintenance accidents, ‘Even a single incident is expensive.’ It takes less than half a second for something to go wrong and a worker’s life might change forever.

Commitment to safety is the need:

The most rigorous and detailed regulations, policies, standards, and codes do little to safeguard workers unless there is a strong commitment to safety in a company. This commitment must come from top management and be embraced by every manager down to the line supervisors and lead persons. If safety does not appear to have a high priority among management, workers will see little reasons to comply with safety measures that in some cases can be time-consuming, inconvenient, or difficult. 

Lockout Tagout majorly depends on administrative controls (procedures and training) for the proper implementation of the lockout tagout program. The effectiveness of the lockout tagout program depends upon how consistently they are being used. Being majorly dependent upon administrative controls there is always room for potential error. Human factors such as being rushed, losing concentration, high levels of stress, using shortcuts, or fatigue are a few sources of potential errors that could lead to fines, prosecution, injuries or even fatality.

Developing the right LOTO procedures and providing proper LOTO training to the workers are great ways to start. Implementing these changes improves the working environment and minimises long term costs related to LOTO incidences. Even more importantly, these changes can save lives.  

Compliance is MUST:

Compliance is an absolute must in order to run a safe and effective business, employers need to document standards that require strict implementation and also enforce an energy control program to spread awareness among the employees. Stringent actions should be taken for those who fail to comply with the set safety standards.

Many organisations would benefit greatly from having their lockout tagout procedures analysed and consolidated. A simple procedure, with all necessary supplies and equipment in one easy to find location, makes following through much less of a burden on employees. These services are readily available and should be used to ensure regulatory compliance.

‘Your Isolation Partner: E-Square’

At E-Square, we help you achieve your goals by assisting you in creating a safer workplace, framing a culture that supports safety and empowering the employees by protecting them from dangerous machines, equipment and process hazards. E-Square has been shaping the future of industrial safety by inventing and introducing the most required energy isolation lockout tagout devices; coupled with passion for developing, implementing and overseeing health and safety programs and procedures to minimize workplace incidents. E-Square is ranked No. 1 LOTO solution provider all over India, and amongst the very best in the world.

Our main focus since last 18 years has been to develop innovative and software-based solutions for hazardous energy isolation and to help our customers in implementing lockout tagout effectively.

In a perfect world, businesses could protect workers by eliminating all workplace hazards. In the real world, the best options are often to reduce the risk to as low as reasonably practicable by prioritising safety across company culture. 

Tips for the day:

The moment you feel that the machine is unsafe, STOP! Anything that looks dangerous to you, can probably be. You need not risk your life to get a job done. No matter how urgent the work is - STOP, THINK, VERIFY, REASSURE that it is safe, and then go ahead!  Carry out proper risk assessments before carrying out any tasks and make sure to the bring the associated risks levels as low as reasonably practicable. Remember, one careless step taken by you can affect you, your loved ones and people around you.

E-Square Compliance and Education Division
About the Author

E-Square Compliance and Education Division

A team of safety professionals and educators united to enhance workplace safety with essential Lockout Tagout knowledge. We offer expertise to foster safety compliance and effective LOTO protocols across industries.

E-Square Blog: Expert Analysis and Best Practices for Isolation Safety

The E-Square blog features advice, information and support on everything related to Lockout Tagout, including best practices, industry news, latest innovations and regulatory updates.

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