Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Why There's A Lockout-Tagout Standard -- Part 2

Worker Loses Both Arms in Conveyor Accident

Before we get into yet another "freakish" accident, let's review the principles behind the lockout-tagout standard (LOTO): It's dangerous to put your arms or head into machinery to fix or unjam it if there is any chance it can start up. The LOTO standard therefore requires that all equipment be shut off and de-energized. "De-energized" means making sure that even if the power is off, the machine is not half way through a cycle when you stick your head or your arms into it. Not only must be power be shut off, but the switch must be LOCKED OUT -- Like with a pad lock, so no one can turn it on when your head or your arms are inside it. Then you keep the key to the lock. Lockout is often bypassed because it is difficult and takes too much time when there may be pressure to get a piece of equipment back on line.

OSHA also allows machinery to be Tagged when a it is not possible to lock it or when the employer can demonstrate that the tags provide the same level of safety as using lockout procedures. Needless to say, all employers and supervisors need to be trained about Lockout-Tagout.

OK, now we've got the principles down, let's move on to today's lesson. (Warning: The following article is particularly graphic.)
Worker loses arms in conveyor mishap

A Bridgeton man's arms were severed Monday morning in an industrial accident at a Bivalve clam-processing plant, state police said.

John Lackey, 27, of Skyline Drive was treated at South Jersey Healthcare, Newcomb Hospital after the 7:15 a.m. accident at Surfside Products Inc., said Trooper Jamie Ablett of the Port Norris state police barracks.

Lackey was transferred to Cooper University Hospital in Camden, where he was listed in critical condition.

State police gave this account:

Lackey was working as a maintenance man at the Shell Road plant when he tried to free a frozen conveyor.

After the machinery began moving, a piece of his clothing got caught in the gears and both of his arms were cut off, Ablett said.
More here and here, if you really want to read it.