Lockout/tagout: What can happen if you don’t guard all the keys

by on June 28, 2011 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

A recent OSHA decision shows what can happen if a company doesn’t manage keys properly during procedures requiring lockout.

A contractor renovating a car dealership had a problem: Its workers needed ceiling wires de-energized, but dealership employees needed power. The contractor’s workers would turn circuit breakers off, and the dealership employees would flick them back on.

The contractor’s on-site supervisor finally locked the electrical box. But since several of his workers would need a key, he hid one in the electrical room. Unfortunately, a dealership employee found the key, switched on the breakers, and electrocuted a worker.

OSHA issued a citation to the contractor for failing to lock out properly. The company fought it, saying the accident was the dealer’s fault.

Single employee only
The OSHA Review Commission upheld the citation, saying the contractor knew it was having problems with dealership employees, so leaving a key in the breaker room wasn’t very bright.

Bottom line: The worker exposed to the hazard should control the key.

Cite: Secretary of Labor v. Andrew Electric Co., No. 08-0104, OSHRC.

photo credit: Spencer T.

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