Investigating repeated incidents is critical to improving employee safety, and lockout/tagout (LOTO) failures are one of the major issues. In fact, it’s one of the Top 10 violations most frequently cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and is often misunderstood.

Titled “The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)” in OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.147, LOTO best practices can be lost in a sea of procedural information. The standard outlines how to control all hazardous energies, including electric, mechanic, hydraulic, pneumatic, thermal and more.

LOTO devices immediately disable machinery or equipment, preventing the release of hazardous energy while employees perform service and maintenance activities. OSHA requires companies to develop, implement and enforce an energy control program and ensure new and “overhauled equipment” can be turned off to protect staff working around the energy source. LOTO violations can carry a fine of up to $7,000.

Bakery equipment such as moving blades, mixing arms, conveyors, rollers and dividers pose numerous cutting, pinching and crushing hazards to employees. To lock out these machines and protect employees, safety devices like power interlocks, two-handed controls and emergency stop bars are recommended, according to OSHA. Proper guarding also protects workers from bumping into moving parts.

Because LOTO is an OSHA priority, Rasma Zvaners, vice-president, regulatory and technical services, American Bakers Association, said bakers must remain aware of standard updates. In May, OSHA asked for public comments on where and how to modernize the LOTO standard, and the A.B.A. is responding to the request.

“OSHA has also stated that it intends to publish its proposal to harmonize the Hazard Communication Standard with the most recent edition of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals,” Ms. Zvaners said. “We may see this proposal by the end of 2019.”

This article is an excerpt from the September 2019 issue of Baking & Snack. To read the entire feature on employee safety, click here.