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Auto-parts Manufacturer Pays $1.5M After Lockout/Tagout Accidental Death

Posted on 9/11/2020 by Lauren Scott

An auto-parts manufacturer has agreed to a $1.5 million settlement to resolve allegations that the company allowed workers to ignore OSHA safety standards, resulting in the death of one of its employees.

On June 18, 2016, a machinery operator at a metal stamping plant in Cusseta, AL walked into an enclosure to troubleshoot a malfunctioning piece of machinery. The worker was then struck by a robotic arm, pinning her against another machine. The employee died the next day at the hospital.

In the plea deal, the company acknowledges that facility officials were aware that workers were not following the proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures for deactivating machinery before servicing or repairing equipment.

The manufacturer agreed to pay a $500,000 fine, plus $1 million to the survivors of the worker. The company will make improvements to its safety program and accept additional inspections by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
 

Protecting Employees from Hazardous Energy With LOTO

OSHA defines hazardous energy as the “unexpected startup or release of stored energy.” When this hazardous energy is released during maintenance or servicing, whether it’s electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, chemical, or otherwise, it can badly injure or even kill the employee(s) working on the machine. According to OSHA, failure to control hazardous energy accounts for almost 10 percent of serious accidents across many industries.

Lockout/tagout is the industry standard for controlling hazardous energy. An effective LOTO strategy involves the use of lockout devices for equipment that can be locked out (i.e., physically restrained or blocked from starting up or releasing energy).

“Tagout” refers to the use of tags, which may be used when a lock is not compatible. Tags provide a warning for employees, but do not physically stop the machine from moving the way a lock does.

OSHA’s regulations at 29 CFR 1910.147 lay out employers’ responsibilities for protecting workers from the release of hazardous energy by implementing safety procedures and training workers on how to use the LOTO system (see 29 CFR 1910.174(c)(7)).
 

Safety Training Is the Best Accident Prevention

When workers know the regulations behind safety procedures, they are less likely to cut corners, reducing the chance of accidents and preventing costly OSHA violations.

Meet OSHA's Lockout/Tagout training requirement with the Lockout/Tagout online training. In addition to learning the basics of LOTO systems from the 29 CFR regulations, employees develop an understanding of risks associated with hazardous energy; site-specific energy control procedures; application, removal, and transfer of LOTO devices; and best practices for training and re-training workers on these procedures.

The Lockout/Tagout online safety course is now available for $29. Learn more about the training here or call (888) 546-6511 to sign up today.
 

Tags: Alabama, lock out, lock out tag out, lockout, LOTO, osha, osha enforcement, safety, tag out, tagout, workplace safety

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