Failure to Lockout-Tagout results in worker’s death: OSHA cites employer nearly $300K

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration recently cited a Missouri manufacturing company after the death of a 58-year-old maintenance worker who was pinned between a scrap metal table and a railing. OSHA said the company failed to prevent the table from lowering unintentionally. The citation resulted in a penalty of $272,250.

Specifically, OSHA issued three willful violations for not placing devices on machinery to prevent the sudden startup or movement of equipment during service and maintenance, a procedure known as lockout/tagout.

The company, Hussman Corporation, also was cited for failure to correct numerous problems related to its lockout/tagout procedures, such as using electronic gate switches as a substitute for an energy-isolating device.

Using proper lockout/tagout procedures and training employees to use and follow them could have prevented the accident, which happened at the company’s Bridgeton, Missouri manufacturing plant.  The citation is available at https://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/Hussmann_995311_030415.pdf.

Lockout/tagout is the practice of disabling machinery or equipment to prevent the release of hazardous energy while employees perform servicing and maintenance activities. The energy can be released in any number of ways, including electrical charges that result in shock or electrocution, as well as other forms of energy – electrical current, hydraulic energy, pneumatic pressure, etc. –  that re-energizes the machine, causing it to start or malfunction. Machinery should be locked-out or tagged-out any time maintenance or repairs are being performed.

Mitchell & Lindsey provides a number of workplace safety services to clients throughout the United States, including training in lockout/tagout procedures, arc flash evaluations and other related services. Mitchell & Lindsey’s clients primarily include manufacturers and hospitals, although their expertise applies to nearly every industry and sector. Visit www.MitchellandLindsey.com for more information, or call Mark Mitchell at 502-682-8491.