Proper lockout ensures the safety of employees that operate equipment. The death rate is too high when the implemented system is defective.
Recently, in the agri-food sector, a worker died (French only) after being caught between a tippler and a receiving hopper. How could this happen? The tippler filled with fruits moved unexpectedly toward the worker.
A lift truck operator was feeding a conveyor with stacked bins. They were lifted by a tippler, emptied and then released. Under the tippler, the worker had access to a hazardous area that was unprotected on both sides by hinged screenings and without interlocking devices. The guards in the back of the equipment were not in place. In front, it was possible to enter through the output conveyor.
Therefore, the worker had access to hazardous areas. He entered the area with a shovel, which means he intended to do a task that could not be determined.
- Control of dangerous energies in hazardous areas. To ensure that this is being done, lockout procedures must be provided in order to allow the worker to proceed safely to the zero-energy lockout of the equipment. He will then be able to put his personal padlock (see article 185 of the RSST [French only]).
- Render these areas inaccessible. If impossible, they must be protected by fixed protectors or an interlocking system (see article 182 of the RSST [French only]).
- Install an emergency shut-off system accessible to the worker. In this case, the device was in operation but was inaccessible from the hazardous area (see article 192 of the RSST [French only]).
As for many employers, the company had established a lockout program, but an essential point was missing: a lockout procedure specific to the equipment and its many components. This procedure should include, according to the CSST report, “the identification of all power supply modes of the device. (…) and the lockout procedure available specifically for the tippler.”
An occupational accident like this one has serious repercussions. Why not work to prevent this type of accident instead of living with its tragic consequences? A well-established lockout program certainly is worth the costs of your investment. Do not wait for an accident to happen, contact SPI right away!
Alain Daoust, cria; crsp; vea
EHS Expertise Director, SPI Health and Safety