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Boosting safety through a standardized lockout-tagout program

Lockout-tagout is an essential part of workplace safety for many businesses in Georgia. Unfortunately, non-compliance with OSHA standards is a consistent issue year after year with many employers failing to use the proper procedures, neglecting their periodic inspections and lacking program documentation. This is why employers will want to consider standardizing their LOTO program.

Several areas can benefit from standardization. The first step is determining the regulatory body that the company is to follow. For companies based in Georgia, that will most likely be OSHA, whereas foreign subsidiaries will follow another. There should be a written policy and program in use across all departments and facilities.

This written program should set minimum criteria for everyone. Through the use of a standard audit schedule, employers can also set expectations for reviews and updates at a particular date each year. Next, employers should simplify training. They can outline what locks to use, where they are and where the procedures are located in order to speed up training and improve trainees' retention.

It should be clearly laid out who maintains the LOTO program in each department, who has the authority to make changes and who handles any recurring training. The hardware used for LOTO can be standardized as well. Where possible, involve the workers in the process as a way to encourage a more safety-minded culture.

Without proper LOTO procedures, workers may injure themselves while machinery is being repaired or maintained. Workers injured through no fault of their own may consider filing a personal injury lawsuit, or they may file for workers' compensation benefits. The former option is closed when there is no proof that the employer neglected workplace safety. Either way, though, victims may wish to see a lawyer for a case evaluation.

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