When using heavy machinery such as hydraulic presses, it’s important to know how to use lockout/tagout systems to stay safe on the job.

The problem, essentially, is that workers can get injured when someone else starts a machine at an inopportune time. For instance, imagine that something gets jammed inside of a hydraulic press. A worker stops the press and steps inside to remove the jam. While this is happening, another worker starts the press, not knowing the first worker is still inside. They could be fatally injured in a split second.

A lockout/tagout system gives workers a way to lock down machines so that no one can start them without first unlocking them. They can then apply the proper tags to tell other workers who stopped the machine, why it is down and when they can start it again.

This two-pronged approach, focusing on both a physical block and on communication, can drastically reduce the odds of a deadly incident.

That said, workers need to know how to use these systems properly so that they do not make mistakes. They need training and on-the-job experience. They also need to know that safety is an important part of the company culture, influencing them never to cut corners; not using the lockout may be faster, but it is not worth the risk.

When workers do not get this training, they or others can be seriously injured on the job. Incidents still do happen. The ramifications could be career-ending. If this happens to you or a loved one, make sure you know what legal steps you can take.