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A Wrench in the Gear: Lockout/tagout in the food industry

Categories: Manufacturing

The food manufacturing industry includes animal slaughtering as well as the processing and packaging of meat, dairy, fruit, vegetable, grain, seafood, beverages, and bakery products. The industry employs nearly 1.5 million workers.1 Work in food manufacturing is typically fast-paced and workers can face exposure to hazards such as slips trips and falls, musculoskeletal disorders, and machine-related injuries.2

Although there has been improvement in recent years, workers in food manufacturing have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than workers in private industry as a whole. For example, in 2012, the injury and illness rate in food manufacturing was 5.4 per 100 workers compared with 3.4 per 100 workers for private industry overall.3 That same year, food manufacturers suffered 18,620 lost-time injuries and 41 fatalities. The estimated cost for those lost-time injuries was over $1.4 billion (direct and indirect costs, at an average $76,000 each).4

Many of the machine-related injuries are related to failure to use lockout/tagout (LO/TO) procedures. An examination of OSHA’s Accident Investigation database (using SIC codes 201-207) showed that from 2003-2013, 28 fatalities and 227 serious injuries (such as amputations) were related to lockout procedures in food manufacturing.5 The largest number of incidents occurred in meatpacking and poultry slaughtering and processing.5  In fact, violation of the lockout/tagout standard (1910.147) was the most frequently cited infraction of an OSHA standard during 2012‒2013 in food manufacturing with penalties totaling over $894,000.6

The NIOSH NORA Manufacturing Sector Council members want to help small food manufacturers with LO/TO, and through this blog we are seeking  input from our stakeholders to enhance our understanding of the issues surrounding LO/TO in the food and beverage processing industry.

The Pace Challenge

A robust lockout/tagout program that protects the safety and health of workers is an important part of machine maintenance. Machine injuries related to lockout/tagout often occur when an employee services or repairs a machine or tries to clear a jam but fails to de-energize the machine and lock out sources of energy.

Smaller businesses face the challenge of remaining competitive in the food and beverage processing industry, and we know most companies are struggling to keep up with a bustling pace and narrow profit margins.

Pace equals profit in this industry, but workers need to stay safe while maintaining their pace. The efficient work that keeps businesses viable and competitive requires well maintained machines and equipment.

Pace does not have to be a tradeoff for safety; optimal levels of both can be achieved. If something falls off the assembly line and a machine gets jammed, a quick solution may seem like a good option. Given the production pressures in this industry, workers may feel that managers would rather have them risk injury than stop production to properly apply LO/TO procedures.  A worker may simply try to clear the jam without taking the time to lock out sources of hazardous energy.  But when energy sources are not locked out, any unexpected startup of a machine or other equipment can result in amputations or death. Employers who ‘get it’ know that it is far more valuable to control hazardous energy with LO/TO procedures than to risk both the personal and financial loss that can result from machine-related injury. An injury, death, or even a fine from a violation can quickly nullify gains from increased work speed.

Save a life: Block that energy!  

Follow OSHA requirements regarding de-energizing machines and locking out sources of energy.7 Some elements of a successful LO/TO program include:

  • Written procedures
  • Documentation of each source of energy
  • Locking and tagging devices
  • Verification of energy isolation
  • Proper locks at proper places (isolation points)
  • Training (including skills demonstration) in the primary language(s) of employees.
  • Auditing of work process

NIOSH recommends that any hazardous energy control program include both lockout and tagout procedures to ensure maximum protection. The NIOSH recommendations for lockout and tagout are described in the following documents:

Using Lockout and Tagout Procedures to Prevent Injury and Death during Machine Maintenance

Preventing Worker Deaths from Uncontrolled Release of Electrical, Mechanical, and Other Types of Hazardous Energy

Companies with established lockout programs have told us that having written procedures ahead of time allows for machine maintenance and service to proceed without delay. Share with us the type of lockout/tagout program you have in your business. What resources were used to implement the program that could help small business improve their practices? What works well about it? What has made it difficult to maintain the program? Sharing your experiences with LO/TO will help NIOSH and our partners better understand the issues so that we can provide the best guidance and resources to help save lives.

Jim Harris, Ph.D., P.E. ; Susan Afanuh, MA; Frank Renshaw, Ph.D., CIH, CSP; David L. Parker, MD, MPH; Theodore Braun, MBA; Thomas Cunningham, PhD

Dr. Harris is a Research Safety Engineer in the NIOSH Division of Safety Research.

Ms. Afanuh is  a Technical Information Specialist in the NIOSH Education and Information Division

Dr.  Renshaw  is the managing member  at Bayberry EHS Consulting, LLC and the National Occupational  Research Agenda (NORA) Manufacturing Sector Council Co-Chair.

David L. Parker, is a Senior Researcher at Park-Nicollet Health Systems and a member of the NORAManufacturing Sector Council.

Mr. Braun is an Adjunct Professor at the Keene State College and  a member of the NORA Manufacturing Sector Council.

Dr. Cunningham is a behavioral scientist in the NIOSH Education and Information Division.

References

  1. BLS [2014]. Industries at a glance. Food manufacturing: NAICS code 311. http://www.bls.gov/iag/tgs/iag311.htm 
  2. Safety+Health [2013]. Industry spotlight: food manufacturing. Safety+Health April:52.  http://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/industry-spotlight-food-manufacturing
  3. BLS [2013]. Employer-related workplace injuries and illnesses – 2012. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/osh.pdf
  4. Harris S [2014]. It’s safer to eat the product than it is to work in many food manufacturing facilities. http://www.knowledgeatwork.com/workplacesafety/its-safer-to-eat-the-product-than-it-is-to-work-in-many-food-manufacturing-facilities
  5. OSHA [2014a]. Fatality and catastrophe investigation summaries. https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/accidentsearch.html
  6. OSHA [2014b]. Frequently cited OSHA standards. NAICS Code 311: food manufacturing. https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/citedstandard.naics?p_esize=&p_state=FEFederal&p_naics=311
  7. OSHA standards require the use of either lockout or tagout. OSHA requirements can be found at https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9804.  OSHA provides a sample lockout procedure at https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9805NIOSH recommends that any hazardous control program include lockout and tagout to ensure maximum protection. Also note that some State plans may have more stringent requirements than those found in 29 CFR 1910.147.

Other NIOSH Resources

The NIOSH Fatality and Assessment Control Evaluation (FACE) program investigates fatalities, identifies contributing factors, and makes recommendations for prevention. NIOSH FACE reports related to machines and manufacturing are listed here, and State FACE reports related to machines and manufacturing are listed here.

NIOSH developed a set of safety checklists for vocational schools; one checklist is available for LO/TO programs: School safety checklist: Control of Hazardous Energy

Other Resources

OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)

ElCosh Electrical Hazard Checklist (also available in Spanish)

Public Comments

Comments listed below are posted by individuals not associated with CDC, unless otherwise stated. These comments do not represent the official views of CDC, and CDC does not guarantee that any information posted by individuals on this site is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. Read more about our comment policy ».

  1. July 8, 2014 at 6:48 am ET  -   Joaquin Reese

    Health Safety should be prioritized by the manufacturers.

    __________________________________________________________________

    Baking Food and BBQ

    Link to this comment

  2. July 8, 2014 at 11:15 am ET  -   Alex

    Health Safety is paramount in manufacturing.

    Link to this comment

  3. July 16, 2014 at 11:25 pm ET  -   Leeman

    Working in any manufacturing warehouse is dangerous when you don’t follow lock-out and tag-out procedures because it’s so easy to get injured. I have seen many people try to rush a repair but fail to de-energize the power source and get injured.

    Link to this comment

  4. July 18, 2014 at 4:34 am ET  -   Robert

    Safety must come first

    Robert

    Link to this comment

  5. July 18, 2014 at 6:13 am ET  -   Pregnancy Miracle

    Before the work we’d better figure out how to lockout/tagout procedures. And also training to work safely.

    Link to this comment

  6. July 19, 2014 at 2:41 am ET  -   remass

    Major thanks for the blog.Really looking forward to read more. Awesome.

    Link to this comment

  7. July 21, 2014 at 1:49 am ET  -   mikas

    Thanks for such a knowledgeable post.

    Link to this comment

  8. July 22, 2014 at 3:14 am ET  -   rypaci

    I seriously appreciate your information. this post is helpful.
    thanks for this idea

    Link to this comment

  9. August 6, 2014 at 3:31 pm ET  -   Mark Stein

    The FDA and OSHA must do a better job. I understand that resources are limited. It’s now just a matter of priorities. Thanks for a very informative blog post.

    Link to this comment

  10. August 13, 2014 at 2:54 am ET  -   Wounded warrior

    This is crazy these guys are obviously slacking. The government really needs to work harder to keep people more safe. The last thing we need is more wounded people collecting disability

    Link to this comment

  11. August 27, 2014 at 5:56 am ET  -   Anonymous

    I seriously appreciate your information.., Thanks for sharing such a useful info….

    Link to this comment

  12. August 28, 2014 at 8:13 am ET  -   James Know

    Really concise information here, thanks for the read.

    Link to this comment

  13. August 29, 2014 at 5:32 am ET  -   Tom Salem

    Simple truth : Machines need maintenance for the safety of the workers and owner’s peace of mind.

    production company

    Link to this comment

  14. August 31, 2014 at 1:56 pm ET  -   Safe Sheild

    Excellent contents! It is really critical. Many people try to rush a repair but fail to de-energize the power source and get injured. Thanks for sharing it. I support it.

    Link to this comment

  15. September 1, 2014 at 8:10 am ET  -   Ciara

    This issue is worth a lot of concern, as number of food manufacturing units is huge. Injuries in such units are very probable requiring special attention. If you are owner of one such unit, then conduct survey to find the resin behind occurrence o f such incidences.

    Link to this comment

  16. September 2, 2014 at 3:01 am ET  -   Manuel Marcelino

    For any manufacturer industry first priority is Safety. Some times less precaution mad big health issues. So we have to follow all government safety procedure for better result because every worker is important for us.

    Link to this comment

  17. September 3, 2014 at 7:39 am ET  -   Business Website Design

    Great post. Thanks for sharing such nice blog
    Thanks again

    Link to this comment

  18. September 9, 2014 at 5:58 am ET  -   pretty angel

    thanks for the blog.Really looking forward to read more. Awesome.

    Link to this comment

  19. September 9, 2014 at 1:14 pm ET  -   farid

    prioritizing safety

    Link to this comment

  20. September 10, 2014 at 1:17 pm ET  -   ibrahim

    Really this post is useful for peoples,

    Link to this comment

  21. September 11, 2014 at 9:19 am ET  -   heated towel rails

    Great post, i appreciate the effort and knowledge you are sharing with this post. Yes i agreed with your thought for any industry or manufacturing company, employee safety is most required.

    And in term of this safety precaution as you said, machine maintenance is required. Time to time check up your machine, keep maintenance for all instrument used into your company.

    Link to this comment

  22. September 13, 2014 at 4:59 am ET  -   harafi

    nice tips

    Link to this comment

  23. September 15, 2014 at 5:58 am ET  -   c.b.

    Interesting read and very informative article.
    It offers stimulating ideas for further discussion. Worth sharing…

    Link to this comment

  24. September 16, 2014 at 4:24 am ET  -   Creative Corporate Gifts

    Great post about this. I am sure many visitors will find this very useful.

    Link to this comment

  25. September 20, 2014 at 5:10 am ET  -   teguh satria

    Construction, infrastructure and manufacturing must be properly addressed

    Link to this comment

  26. September 22, 2014 at 4:18 am ET  -   manchester magician

    Health and safety is extremely lax in some workplaces. It needs to be dealt with with a very high priority. I have come across some dodgy practices in themworkplace in my time.

    Link to this comment

  27. September 22, 2014 at 7:19 am ET  -   Robert Sam

    This Post Really Helpfull For Every One You Explain Every Thing Very Beautifully Thanks For Share

    Link to this comment

  28. September 22, 2014 at 5:41 pm ET  -   Furqan

    Very Nice Article

    Link to this comment

  29. September 24, 2014 at 3:28 am ET  -   Noah Matthew

    Great post. But you can learn more about the issues regarding electrical safety, and how to meet the requirements of key electrical safety standards.

    Link to this comment

  30. September 25, 2014 at 1:10 pm ET  -   visitprobolinggo.com

    Great post, i appreciate the effort and knowledge you are sharing with this post. Yes i agreed with your thought for any industry or manufacturing company, employee safety is most required.

    And in term of this safety precaution as you said, machine maintenance is required. Time to time check up your machine, keep maintenance for all instrument used into your company.

    Link to this comment

  31. September 28, 2014 at 2:40 am ET  -   Michael

    Really this is very critical issue and to be taken care off properly. Good piece on info shared here. Thanks to the author for sharing.

    Link to this comment

  32. September 28, 2014 at 6:34 am ET  -   Masur

    Health and safety is extremely lax in some workplaces.

    Link to this comment

  33. September 29, 2014 at 11:37 am ET  -   karimunjawaindah.com

    Great post, i appreciate the effort and knowledge you are sharing with this post. Yes i agreed with your thought for any industry or manufacturing company, employee safety is most required.

    Link to this comment

  34. September 30, 2014 at 2:03 am ET  -   Tom Salem

    Awareness and proper training of workers will eliminate accidents on the job. Frequent reminders and signage at strategic spot within the workplace would help too.

    Link to this comment

  35. September 30, 2014 at 7:53 pm ET  -   dagracey.com

    Augers are notorious for this with farming equipment, it’s no wonder meat packing is the most common as they use similar technology – plus factories usually push the employees too fast – time pressures over safety concerns

    Link to this comment

  36. October 2, 2014 at 1:07 pm ET  -   www.stopsnoringmouthpiecereview

    Great article. I agree, it is so important to have written procedures. And as others have said, health and safety really needs to be taken more seriously in some industries.

    Link to this comment

  37. October 3, 2014 at 12:48 am ET  -   Bali Tour

    Good article, i agree with the opinion, we should not reliable with the machine cause machine didn’t have brain and sometime can failure. What should we do is combine machine and human works and organizing all activity in places works so will happen something we didn’t want.
    Regards

    Link to this comment

  38. October 5, 2014 at 11:56 am ET  -   paul

    ugh, don’t know why mcdonalds come to mind when reading this..

    Best regards,

    Paul

    Link to this comment

  39. October 6, 2014 at 8:14 am ET  -   quần áo trẻ em

    Thanks for such a knowledgeable post.

    Link to this comment

  40. October 9, 2014 at 1:36 pm ET  -   Jun Li

    I think we need more education and guides to prevent fatal injuries in the future

    Jun

    Link to this comment

  41. October 13, 2014 at 2:48 am ET  -   Robert

    I agree, it is so important to have written procedures. Great and informative article. Thank you so much for sharing with us. Keep continuing…

    Link to this comment

  42. October 13, 2014 at 9:05 am ET  -   Diseño web Barcelona

    This is a very great post, we do need a lot of education all over the world!!

    Link to this comment

  43. October 14, 2014 at 5:39 pm ET  -   Logic Arts Criação de Sites

    Very good article.

    Thank you,

    Link to this comment

  44. October 14, 2014 at 5:42 pm ET  -   Logic Arts Criação de Sites

    Time to time check up your machine, keep maintenance for all instrument used into your company. And in term of this safety precaution as you said, machine maintenance is required.

    Link to this comment

  45. October 15, 2014 at 1:37 pm ET  -   Waqar

    Nice post. Thanks

    Link to this comment

  46. October 17, 2014 at 2:44 am ET  -   suhuderajat

    very nice article

    Link to this comment

  47. October 22, 2014 at 5:06 am ET  -   Lockout Tagout

    Great tips. very well-written, keyword-oriented and incredibly useful. its really interesting to many readers. I really appreciate this, thanks

    Link to this comment

  48. October 22, 2014 at 10:49 pm ET  -   http://www.viralini.com

    News about companies with established lockout programs have told us that having written procedures ahead of time allows for machine maintenance and service to proceed without delay.

    Link to this comment

  49. October 25, 2014 at 9:50 am ET  -   geekyburp

    more education is equal to great knowledge

    Link to this comment

  50. October 26, 2014 at 8:23 am ET  -   Economics Tuition Singapore

    thanks for sharing a very important post to all

    Link to this comment

  51. October 28, 2014 at 10:19 am ET  -   thiet ke web da nang

    I think we need more education and guides to prevent fatal injuries in the future

    Link to this comment

  52. October 29, 2014 at 2:05 am ET  -   Vinexshop.com

    Nice tips about Health Safety. It will helpful for everyone…

    Link to this comment

  53. October 29, 2014 at 2:21 am ET  -   olb365

    this verry good content thx for sharing.. :D
    Great post, i appreciate the effort and knowledge you are sharing with this post.
    amazing

    Link to this comment

  54. October 29, 2014 at 7:49 am ET  -   aurtorr

    Thanks for article. Program good.

    Link to this comment

  55. October 29, 2014 at 8:40 am ET  -   saraiba

    very good post congratulations for the content and work

    Link to this comment

  56. October 29, 2014 at 9:36 am ET  -   Optima-md

    Safety and stuff training should be top priority when operating different machines. Of course it would take more time to train stuff but hey, it’s better than having someone injuring himself.

    Link to this comment

  57. October 31, 2014 at 2:19 pm ET  -   David

    Great post. This is disturbing though “The food manufacturing industry includes animal slaughtering as well as the processing and packaging of meat, dairy, fruit, vegetable, grain, seafood, beverages, and bakery products. The industry employs nearly 1.5 million workers. ”

    Dave

    Link to this comment

  58. November 2, 2014 at 9:50 am ET  -   The OSPT

    Thank you for sharing this information

    Link to this comment

  59. November 4, 2014 at 12:16 pm ET  -   pabxpanasonic

    very nice post ,.,
    tks :)

    Link to this comment

  60. November 5, 2014 at 2:55 pm ET  -   trainingequipmentforgolf

    Thanks for the post. It is always a really good reminder to keep safe at work and if you are asked to do something unsafe at work, bring it to your managers or the HSE department’s attention.

    Link to this comment

  61. November 9, 2014 at 10:41 pm ET  -   Jason Hiep

    very good article content, safety is very important for every citizen
    Thanks for the post

    Link to this comment

  62. November 13, 2014 at 11:01 pm ET  -   kadut hokcay

    thanks for your post and I have learn education form your blogs

    Link to this comment

  63. November 21, 2014 at 12:25 am ET  -   quần áo trẻ em

    Health Safety should be prioritized by the manufacturers.

    Link to this comment

  64. November 26, 2014 at 1:25 am ET  -   George Waldkirch

    Interesting read, thank you for posting the article, You have a wonderful blog! Keep it up!

    Link to this comment

  65. November 27, 2014 at 2:53 am ET  -   matthew eaach

    Excellent contents! It is really critical. Many people try to rush a repair but fail to de-energize the power source and get injured. Thanks for sharing it. I support it.

    Link to this comment

  66. November 27, 2014 at 10:17 pm ET  -   jerome

    nice article thank you for posting this article health and safety is what we really need today

    Link to this comment

  67. November 29, 2014 at 11:43 pm ET  -   My Tan

    Thanks for the post. It is always a really good reminder to keep safe at work and if you are asked to do something unsafe at work, bring it to your managers or the HSE department’s attention.

    Link to this comment

  68. November 30, 2014 at 8:15 pm ET  -   newton

    good information the safety and heath of any workers should be number one for any business

    Link to this comment

  69. December 1, 2014 at 12:18 am ET  -   Nuranio

    Great,
    But Safety must come first

    Link to this comment

  70. December 3, 2014 at 12:55 am ET  -   Krishnakumar

    Interesting read, thank you for posting the article, You have a wonderful blog! Keep it up!

    Link to this comment

  71. December 4, 2014 at 11:18 pm ET  -   Igi Sumanta

    Hi,

    I have gone through your blog “A Wrench in the Gear: Lockout/tagout in the food industry” this is such a good topic. I really enjoyed a lot and the blog is really very interesting.

    Link to this comment

  72. December 5, 2014 at 1:29 am ET  -   Lockout Tagout

    Thanks for sharing information.I have seen for lot of tips related lockout tagout safety.These tips are really amazing. I appreciate it for sharing them.

    Link to this comment

  73. December 5, 2014 at 10:53 am ET  -   Dave Hunter

    I work in manufacturing and all our machines are serviced by an outsourced local professional under contract. A small cost as opposed to an unfortunate accident.

    Link to this comment

  74. December 6, 2014 at 5:23 am ET  -   Val

    I don’t believe people working in the food manufacturing industries are more exposed to health hazards. How do you then compare them with people working in farms, road constructions, structure buildings, and so on…

    Link to this comment

    • AUTHOR COMMENT December 22, 2014 at 3:15 pm ET  -   Thais Morata

      Thank you for your interest in our blog and for taking the time to submit a comment. Of course, not all facilities dedicated to food manufacturing are dangerous, but we based our Blog on the data from OSHA’s Accident Investigation database. Food manufacturing unfortunately leads among manufacturing industries (see 2nd paragraph of the Blog). We also looked at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data for injuries and illness, and fatalities. There are fluctuations across years but manufacturing rates (the quantity of cases measured with respect to the total number of workers in that industry) are often among the highest, but total numbers are not; http://www.bls.gov/iif/#data). The leading cause of days away from work cases often is contact with objects (which includes failure to use Lockout-Tagout), with food manufacturing having a high rate. Now, regarding fatalities, manufacturing is not the industrial sector that leads in fatalities, but when it happens, again, the leading cause of death is contact with objects and equipment. You can see the breakdown at http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshwc/cfoi/cftb0268.pdf). Our intent in pointing this out is to encourage all to take actions that ensure their safety and health.

      Link to this comment

  75. December 6, 2014 at 6:11 pm ET  -   Bryan

    Nice info, a tool should have got the certification of government agencies.

    Link to this comment

  76. December 10, 2014 at 1:12 am ET  -   sipendik

    Safety and stuff training should be top priority when operating different machines. Of course it would take more time to train stuff but hey, it’s better than having someone injuring himself.

    Link to this comment

  77. December 10, 2014 at 1:20 am ET  -   sipendik

    The FDA and OSHA must do a better job. I understand that resources are limited. It’s now just a matter of priorities. Thanks for a very informative blog post.

    Link to this comment

  78. December 11, 2014 at 6:29 am ET  -   Lockout Tagout Services

    Nice Blog!! Great Post !! Like your Blog and your ideas and i think its benificial for us and i keep to visit your blog regularly because i got lot of information through you blog

    Link to this comment

  79. December 19, 2014 at 6:42 am ET  -   Ashok

    Interesting article post and enjoyed reading the post.
    The reference links on this web page are so good, this is a very nice information to share, would like to bookmark this content.
    Thanks again.

    Link to this comment

  80. December 22, 2014 at 12:38 am ET  -   webmaster

    Totally agreed….very informative article, safety of the employee is must to get an quality output weather it is a food industry or any other.

    Link to this comment

  81. December 22, 2014 at 12:43 am ET  -   mustafa

    great article…safety precautions are must in every industry especially in manufacturing industries, the energy sources should be managed and maintained properly. Thank you for the article.

    Link to this comment

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