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The Safety Brief In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews
and insights into how contractors and safety managers
can be even more effective in protecting their workers.
In our podcasts we give short but valuable overviews and insights into how contractors and safety managers can be even more effective in protecting their workers.

Lockout-Tagout Shortcuts That Kill

Lockout-tagout (LOTO) is not just for major equipment repairs. Do it for maintenance, cleaning, and even retrieving stuck items, or it could be fatal.

In this podcast we discuss the importance of not taking shortcuts. Workers and managers should always “do it right” and use lockout-tagout signs and labels. Implementing this element of 5S and visuality will keep workers safe.

OSHA requires their use. But LOTO also a good idea.


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Lockout_Tagout_Shortcuts_That_Kill-Creative_Safety_Supply-250x250Dan Clark: Lockout-tagout for repairs. Of course! But not just for repairs. Do it for minor things too, or workers could die.

Hello, I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief. This is where we talk about health and safety hazards in today’s demanding industrial and construction worksites.

Lockout-tagout on machinery is automatic for big fixes. Locking the machine’s power button to off is the first thing a maintenance crew does to initiate repairs. This makes it impossible for someone to accidentally start the equipment when the crew is working. But, there are other times when a machine should be shut down, locked out and tagged out. Sadly, many workers are injured or killed because they, or someone else, took a shortcut.

Besides repairs, always do lockout-tagout in these three situations:

1: MAINTENANCE. Sometimes workers try to perform maintenance while the machine is running. Bad idea. An example: a mechanic at a laundry in Maine was lubing a chain in an ironing machine while it was running, and his hand was crushed.

2: CLEANING. Employees may not think cleaning is worthy of shutting down a machine, but accidents happen. Sometimes, when you’re cleaning, you’re working very close to a machine. Example: a 21-year-old worker and a bottling plant in Florida died when cleaning under a palletizing machine. Another employee restarted the palletizer because it wasn’t locked out. And the employee doing the cleaning was crushed—during his first day on the job.

3. STUCK ITEMS. Don’t think you can quickly reach into a machine and grab something that’s stuck. Lockout-tagout that equipment, even though some companies turn their backs on these quick fixes. What they lose in production, they will save in safety. An example: a worker at a recycling transfer station in New Jersey was taking out cardboard that was stuck in a conveyor belt that was not locked out. It restarted, and he lost his fingers.

OSHA requires lockout-tagout, but don’t do it just because it’s the law. Do it so you and your coworkers stay safe.

That’s it for this episode on Lockout-Tagout Shortcuts That Kill. Come back for more tips and techniques on how to stay safety compliant in today’s ever-changing landscape of safety requirements. I’m Dan Clark of The Safety Brief, sponsored by Creative Safety Supply. See the website at


OSHA info on lockout-tagout

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