Article Originally Featured in Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S)

Author: Bret Bevis, SEAM Group Program Manager – Infrared & ViewPoint

Procedures must keep pace with industry 4.0 smart manufacturing.

When it comes to taking the important first step in setting up your energy control procedures (OSHA’s lockout tagout standard 1910.146), the sky is the limit. Lockout/tagout (LOTO) is a key safety program when working with any power source including electricity, hydraulic pressure, pneumatic pressure, water pressure, thermal energy and even pyrophoric chemicals that combust upon contact with the air.

As companies dive deep into the world of LOTO, their approach is usually comprehensive. What separates the rare few greats from the rest of the overworked industry is how the program proceeds from that point forward.

  • As facilities are upgraded, are LOTO procedures updated to reflect these changes?
  • Are specific isolation valves and electrical disconnects put in place for each new production line?
  • Are annual evaluations being conducted? The answer to that last question is frequently: No. Not many companies follow up on their annual evaluations, and only a fraction bring in a fresh set of qualified eyes to ensure the process is optimally completed. Why? Because the annual evaluation process tends to become yet another task for overworked safety professionals.

Enterprise growth can also become the root of many challenges, particularly if safety programs are not properly scaled. Growth outpacing safety programs is one of the main reasons the 1910.147 control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout) is on the top 10 list of OSHA’s most-cited standards year after year.

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