Take some examples from food processing industry, breaching of LOTO procedures leads to tragedies on a dismayingly regular basis:
-A 42-year-old worker at a Rich Products frozen pizza plant in July 2021 was killed when a machine he was cleaning started up. Rich was fined about $145,000 for failure to follow LOTO procedures.
-Six workers were killed when they were overcome by nitrogen gas in a malfunctioning freezer in January 2021 at a chicken processing plant owned by Foundation Food Group in Gainesville, Ga. OSHA cited Foundation as well as several of its suppliers for failure to establish lockout procedures, among multiple other violations.
-A worker at a milk processing plant in Denver owned by Safeway lost four fingers in a molding machine in early 2021. OSHA found that Safeway violated several LOTO procedures, including inadequate training, and proposed a fine of $339,379.
-An ice-cream plant in Lakewood, N.J., owned by Wells Enterprises, was cited after a worker lost two fingers while trying to service a packaging machine in 2020. The same machine had cost another worker a finger, in the same kind of accident, in 2018.
There are various reasons why LOTO procedures don’t get followed. Probably the most frequent one is that LOTO is considered “too much trouble” for something like a simple jam. It’s easy to build LOTO into scheduled maintenance with anticipated downtime. The problem comes when an unanticipated stoppage occurs.
Workers, or their supervisors, who are under a lot of pressure to keep things moving, may decide to take a shortcut rather than shut off power to an entire machine or line when a jam or some other “minor” problem occurs.