Employers in all industries in California must protect the health and safety of employees. Sadly, many employers fail to equip machines with lockout and tagout devices. In some cases, LOTO devices are installed, but workers are not trained on how to use the devices correctly, nor do they learn about the potential workplace injuries that could follow noncompliance with LOTO safety standards.
All energized machinery and electrical equipment with moving parts are potentially hazardous if locking and tagging procedures are not used. Severe and even fatal accidents can result, including amputation and electrocution. Repairs and maintenance of energized equipment must never take place without following the LOTO safety procedures.
Locking out de-energizes the machine, and tagging out serves to indicate that someone is busy with repairs or maintenance, and the equipment must not be started up by other workers. Other circumstances that could lead to injury include cases in which a machine breaks down, but it is not locked out and tagged out to warn others. This is particularly dangerous when shifts change, and new shift workers are unaware of the danger posed by the broken piece of the equipment.
Amputation injuries are often the result of LOTO violations, and when that happens, the injured workers will likely be eligible for financial assistance through the California workers’ compensation insurance system. When workplace injuries leave victims with permanent disabilities, they might be unable to return to the same occupation. An attorney with experience in this field can provide the necessary support and guidance to obtain maximum benefits, which could include vocational rehabilitation to learn new skills.