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How to standardize lockout-tagout procedures

Employers in Pennsylvania who have a lockout-tagout program may consider standardizing it if they have not done so already. This can help boost compliance with OSHA standards and keep workers safe. The first step in standardization is to set consistent expectations for all departments and facilities.

One could, for example, create a standard audit schedule to let everyone know that lockout-tagout procedures will be consistently updated and reviewed at a particular date every year. Completing the annual audit can be a more streamlined process with a standard template. For example, machine-specific photos can be incorporated to identify energy isolation points.

Training should be simplified, but it's important to train not only those who are authorized to perform lockout-tagout but also those who use the machinery being maintained and those who work around the machinery. A training program that outlines what locks to use, where they are and where the procedures are will improve retention and speed up training.

Increasing accountability is also a good idea. One can track the lockout-tagout program much more easily on the corporate level when it is standardized. Also, employees could be given a voice in the standardization process since this could help foster a safety culture. The regulatory body, written policies, responsibilities, schedules and hardware are all areas that can benefit from standardization.

Standardized procedures do not necessarily prevent workers from being involved in an accident. Injured workers may be compensated for their medical expenses and for part of their lost wages, so they may wish to see a workers' comp attorney. To file for these benefits, one does not need to prove that anyone was negligent. However, employers might deny the claim because the accident was the victim's own fault, in which case the victim may want to discuss with the attorney how to mount an appeal.

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