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When Lockout / Tagout Fails (caution: graphic injury pictures)

Just the other day I was talking to a guy and after asking me what I do for a living, he told me about his friend who got hurt at work when Lockout / Tagout failed. I’m always interested when a safety procedure fails, so I asked him to tell me how the failure occurred.

It seems that his friend was making a repair on an engine that powered a piece of equipment. The repair required him to put his hand between the radiator hose and cooling fan. Realizing that he needed to turn the crank, he reached around to the ignition switch and just “bump” the switch. This engine was usually hard to start until then.

He realized his mistake when the engine started. Startled, he pulled his hand back and it made contact with the fan blade cutting his hand severely. When the doctors first saw the injury they thought he would lose some mobility, luckily he did not have any permenant disability.

So what would cause someone to do something like this?

In this situation he did not recognize the hazard. The obvious hazard should have been the cooling fan blade, but the less obvious and most impactful hazard was his failure to follow the safety procedure. The only reason Lockout / Tagout failed was because he failed to use it. His failure to follow Lockout / Tagout resulted in a bad hand injury (pictured at the bottom of this blog).

One picture shows the hand when he was in the hospital emergency room and the other is after two-weeks of healing.

It is obvious that if the mechanic had used Lockout / Tagout to make this job safe he would have not been injured. What is unseen is the number of safety procedures that he may not have followed that lead up to this injury. Safety procedures exist because hazards exist that can cause injury.  Preventing injuries means recognizing all the hazards, evaluating them and applying the proper controls.  If you have attended my workshop you’ve learned this.

You may get tired of me saying this, but “Hazard Recognition and Control” is the cornerstone of creating a zero-injury workplace. That is why we spend so much time delivering my Hazard Recognition and Control Workshop to clients.



One Response to When Lockout / Tagout Fails (caution: graphic injury pictures)

  • Mike Huber says:

    Good to see this from time to time. Makes a person realize how important recognizing the hazard really is.

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