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Lockouts and tagouts to protect workers

Many Louisianans work in jobs around machinery that uses hazardous energy sources to run. In order to protect workers from exposure to the hazardous energy used by the equipment, employers are supposed to have lockout and tagout procedures prepared in order to prevent accidental releases.

Workers who are required to maintain or service machines must be protected from those machines accidentally starting. If there are no lockout or tagout procedures, the equipment can suddenly start and seriously injure or kill the worker. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, almost 10 percent of serious work accidents happen because of companies' failure to implement lockout and tagout procedures required by law.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, is the agency tasked with regulating and monitoring employers for workplace safety. OSHA has fact sheets available that clearly outline the proper tagout and lockout procedures that employers are required to follow. Employers should also provide adequate training to each of their employees regarding proper lockout or tagout procedures when they are preparing to service a machine or work near it. Employers are also supposed to teach workers how to spot energy source hazards and report them.

Working with heavy equipment and machinery can be dangerous. It is important that employers and employees take care to implement the procedures mandated by OSHA to help minimize the risk of workplace injuries. If an accident does occur, it may cause severely disabling injuries or death to a worker. If a worker is injured on the job, he or she has the option to file a workers' compensation claim in order to seek benefits from their employer's insurance carrier. If the worker is killed, their family may be able to fail a claim for benefits as well. Injured workers may want to speak with a workers' compensation lawyer who works to get the maximum recovery amount possible.

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