Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

The Need for Lockout/Tagout Functionality - Why it Matters

Posted by Thelma Marshall on Oct 1, 2019 4:00:00 AM

Studies find that 3 out of 10 employers have no lockout/tagout program in place to prevent their workers from using machinery that has been sidelined for repairs. In fact, only 10 percent of companies with fleet vehicles have an effective lockout/tagout program in place. ignition-lock-1695599_1280

Why lockout/tagout functionality matters

When sidelined machines and industrial equipment are used, even when they are deemed unsafe, it can lead to serious injuries. Using the lockout / tagout safety procedure can help ensure equipment is completely shut off and kept from restarting and being used during maintenance or repair service.

Is your business vulnerable without a lockout/tagout program?

The simple answer is, yes. Lacking a reliable lockout/tagout program vastly increases the risk of injuries and regulatory violation fines for your business. In fact, failing to use lockout is one of OSHA’s most cited safety violations, resulting in the organization collecting more than $7.7 million in associated penalties each year.

Regulations require employers to put safety procedures in place to protect workers by totally isolating machinery from the energy sources that drive them.

A few safety facts:

  • Compliance with lockout/tagout regulations prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year.
  • On average, workers lose 24 work days for recuperation, due to injuries caused by machinery not being properly shut off.
  • When standards are followed, accidents, injuries, and fatalities can be reduced up to 80 percent, according to OSHA.

The solution to lockout/tagout

Lockout/Tagout regulations have been in effect for more than 28 years, yet these protocols are still one of the most challenging for most facilities to facilitate. Ensuring machinery and forklifts are inoperable during their repairs or maintenance reduces risk and operator injuries.

  • It can save lives – compliance to lockout/tagout procedures prevents approximately 250,000 accidents, 50,000 injuries, and 120 fatalities annually.
  • It reduces costs – reduces lost employee time and insurance costs. In countries where lockout standards are followed, related accidents, injuries and fatalities drop by 80 percent or more.
  • It facilitates productivity improvements – lockout/tagout can minimize equipment downtime

Appropriate lockout/tagout measures, like those found in a telematic system, can be used to alert employees that certain pieces of equipment have been temporarily disabled or taken out of service.  Essentially, the equipment or lift truck won’t operate, and everyone is kept informed as to why.

Lockout/tagout can also minimize equipment downtime - increasing productivity. Repairs are made a priority when a vehicle will no longer operate.  Postponing forklift repairs and using damaged equipment can make the problem worse. Fast repair saves money.

A telematic lockout/tag out function should make vehicles inoperable during safety check questions, repairs or maintenance. Safety, maintenance, and unit reports can also provide data on why a forklift is in lockout, the duration, the operator, putting you in control of compliance.

Topics: OSHA regulations, compliance requirements, injuries, safety improvements, safety training, limit risks, lockout/tagout function