Lock Out Tag Out: A Grave Concern
Several recent Lessons Learned have enlightened us on the critical nature of LOTO and the possible consequences that come from not following LOTO Procedures.
According to OSHA, every year, there’s an average of 120 employees killed and nearly 50,000 seriously injured from not following LOTO procedures. JJW has had several near misses over the past year with LOTO.
The Purpose of Lock Out Tag Out is to control hazardous energy sources and verify ZERO energy. The energy is either supplied (flow into a machine or equipment) or stored within the machine or equipment after it is shut down (pressure in a vessel). Examples of hazardous energy would be hydraulic, electrical, mechanical, chemical, thermal, nuclear, pneumatic, and gravity.
LOTO affects nearly everything we work on. JJW policy on LOTO clearly states that “we will walkout each system to be worked on, to assure that the systems are indeed isolated, tagged, depressurized and locked out”. It is JJW’s responsibility to ensure that systems are properly tagged and locked out. Affected personnel working that system also have the right to walk that system down. Once verification is complete, locks are installed to prevent unexpected reenergizing of a machine, system or equipment.
Most of us work at facilities which have a LOTO procedure in place. The “Host” or facility owner generally takes the lead on LOTO. We as a company cannot assume that a Machine or Equipment is ready to be worked based on their OK. Several recent incidents have proven that the only way to assure a system is safe to work is to have JJW Supervision walk down that equipment or machine. Our review of past Lessons Learned presents all of us an opportunity for improvement. We must be adamant about LOTO and physically verify each and every isolation point. We must ask questions; utilize drawings; walk down the system and test before you touch. Only then can we assure the safety of every person on our job.