Some of the most common OSHA violations on the job in South Carolina and across the United States are those related to lockout/tagout, or LOTO, procedures. Following LOTO procedures saves an estimated 120 lives each year and prevents over 50,000 injuries. Enforcing LOTO procedures in businesses that use dangerous equipment may reduce personal injuries on the job from machines starting unexpectedly.

It’s important to properly train employees to regularly follow LOTO. This is especially important in new hires. When developing a training program, employers should highlight the following steps:

• Prepare machines for shutdown.
• Shutdown the machines properly.
• Make sure all of the isolation points are disconnected from every power source.
• Apply the lockout device.
• Verify that the lockout device is in place.
• Complete necessary maintenance and repairs.
• Turn the machine back on by removing the lockout device.

Once training has been complete, employers should continually monitor employees to ensure that they are following LOTO procedures. Strict consequences must be enforced for those found violating or skipping steps in LOTO. Audits and inspections of equipment and LOTO compliance will help keep employees safe and may reduce the number of workers’ comp claims.

Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe working environment for their employees. This is especially true in manufacturing facilities and machine shops that use dangerous equipment. Following LOTO procedures is one way to reduce personal injuries at work and prevent costly workers’ comp claims. Those who have been injured on the job due to the negligence of an employer may be able to receive money for help with medical bills and lost wages by filing a workers’ comp claim. If the money received through workers’ compensation isn’t enough to help with the extent of the injuries, a lawyer might be able to file a civil lawsuit against the employer on behalf of the employee.