Lockout, Tag-Out, or Tap-Out

We were recently audited by our workers comp carrier.  The inspector seemed to be most concerned about whether or not we have a “lockout-tag-out” center and written policy.  We do.  During similar inspections performed by OSHA and other outside parties this always seems to be the area of highest concern.  Why?  Granted, automated presses are big powerful machines which can injure or even kill. The mere thought of a press indexing while somebody is between the heads performing repairs or service really gives me the creeps.  But in my experience, technicians and the few employees who may be qualified to repair or service these machines seem to exhibit a healthy fear while performing such tasks and naturally take precautions, ie: emergency stop, powering down, shutting off breakers.  My bigger safety concern is always with day-to-day operation, where press operators seem to get too comfortable with these big machines that can cause such bodily harm.  “Lockout-tag-out” does not address this.  So I ask the question: why are these safety inspectors/auditors/consultants so concerned with lockout-tag-out rather than a guy sticking his arm or head in the press during operation?  I think it’s because they are part of a Safety Industry which is most concerned about “one-size-fits-all” safety precautions which, valid as they may be, don’t address safety issues in the most practical manner.  I genuinely care for the safety of my employees, that’s why I tell them “don’t stick your head in the press!”  But I am also concerned about getting fined or in serious trouble from a governmental agency and thus I comply (see below).

If you share this concern get a “lockout-tag-out” center and written policy.

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