Why Are Lockout-Tagout Rules Important?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched its fifth investigation since 2013 into General Aluminum after an Ohio worker had his hand crushed by a mold-tilting machine. This is not the first accident involving machinery at General Aluminum. Since 2013, four workers have suffered injuries that required amputations. For the most recent accident, General Aluminum is facing fines of $218,244 for failing to power down equipment and prevent movement or sudden startups. The company allegedly has a history of ignoring lockout-tagout rules.
Lockout-tagout rules are essential when employees are working with or performing maintenance on machinery that can power on and cause injuries. Equipment should always be powered or locked down before maintenance can begin. OSHA recommends that a designated individual turn off or disconnect machinery or equipment from energy sources before they can be serviced. Machines or equipment should be locked or tagged with energy-isolated devices (switched to off mode). These devices should require a key so they cannot be easily turned back on. Finally, workers should take steps to ensure energy has been isolated from machines or equipment.
Lockout-Tagout Rules Can Prevent Workplace Accidents
Hundreds of American workers suffer crushing injuries and amputations every year due to lockout-tagout violations. However, injuries from machinery can also include burns, lacerations and broken bones. In some cases, workers lose their lives from crushing injuries or electrocution.
Workers who are injured by unguarded machines may suffer from permanent disabilities. These workers may be eligible for workers’ compensation or disability. In other cases, workers may have additional options that exist outside of Social Security or the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
The Ohio workers’ compensation attorneys at Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC can help you discover options after a workplace accident.