Factories and other industrial facilities are full of safety hazards that can lead to all sorts of workplace injuries, ranging from mild to crippling to ultimately fatal. Many of these accidents are caused by non-compliance with lockout tagout procedures.
Lockout tagout refers to a set of procedures or a system that can help ensure workplace safety and minimize the number of workplace injuries. It ensures that potentially dangerous machines and equipment are completely and properly shut off before maintenance work begins.
OSHA established the Lockout Tagout Standard (1910.147) for the control of hazardous energy. To follow this standard, an employee has to take the necessary steps to prevent a machine or piece of equipment from turning back on while under maintenance.
This involves isolating the power source. More importantly, however, it involves a proper lockout tagout procedure that provides an extra level of security. This prevents other employees from turning on and operating the machine while it’s unsafe to do so.
Unfortunately, a significant number of workplace accidents and injuries stem from non-compliance with lockout tagout procedures and standards. A lockout tagout station can be instrumental in helping employees maintain a proper and compliant lockout tagout program that will effectively help keep the workplace safe.
A lockout tagout station is basically a place in which all lockout tagout devices should be stored. As such, it should be able to accommodate all manner of lockout tagout devices, such as padlocks, keys, inspection tags, and hasps. It’s best if this station is easily visible and strategically placed in an easily accessible spot.
However, it’s also important to make sure that this station can be locked and secured. This will prevent improper use by unauthorized personnel, as well as the accidental loss or damage of any of the devices.
Any facility that has to comply with the OSHA Lockout Tagout Standard (1910.147) will benefit from the use of a lockout tagout station. It functions as a hub that helps keep track of vital lockout tagout devices, which is already quite helpful. However, a lockout tagout station can offer a lot more.
How do lockout tagout stations and kits differ from one another?
Both a station and a kit can function and be used separately. A lockout tagout station provides a static and reliable place to store standard devices. A lockout tagout kit, meanwhile, is simply a collection of different lockout tagout devices that serve different functions.
However, the devices in a kit can also replace the devices that are usually found in lockout tagout stations. In case any device is lost, damaged, or otherwise unusable, the devices in a lockout tagout kit can take its place.
Because OSHA guidelines also regulate the devices used in lockout tagout procedures, device replacements can’t just come from anywhere. Fortunately, having a kit on standby can help provide immediate solutions to any loss or damage.
Typically, a lockout tagout station is wall-mounted for easy and secure access. Because of the nature of a lockout tagout station and its functions, it’s best to install it in a strategic spot.
One option is to put the lockout tagout station somewhere central, in a spot that’s easily accessible to everyone that needs it. This placement is more ideal if the station stores devices that can be used on multiple machines.
Another option is to place the station right next to a machine, preferably in close proximity to the machine’s power source. This placement is best if the devices in that station are used for that specific machine only.
Lockout tagout stations don’t have to cost a lot of money to be effective and durable. A good lockout tagout station can set you back about $100 at least, but it won’t cost you more than $300, but this varies greatly depending on the size and range of products the station comes with. At these prices, you’ll get a set of various lockout tagout devices as well as a durable and lockable case for security and storage.
Establishing and improving lockout tagout procedures can help maintain workplace safety and prevent injuries. Lockout tagout stations can make compliance with OSHA standards and the execution of these safety procedures much easier.