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Agriculture remains one of the most hazardous industries in the United States
"One of the areas of safety concerns are the lockout-tag-out operations required at commercial grain bin facilities. OSHA regulations dictate the procedures that must be followed," said Luis Garcia, a safety education specialist with the Texas Cotton Ginners Trust.
Garcia was one of several speakers at a recent Coastal Bend Grain Storage and Handlers Safety Conference in Sinton.
"Grain bin employers are required to implement procedures for use of tags and locks, which will prevent the inadvertent application of energy or motion to equipment being repaired, serviced, or adjusted, (and) which could result in employee injury or death. These locks and tags shall be removed in accordance with procedures only by the employee installing them," Garcia explained. "This represents a change from the way we used to do business. In the old days, before the new procedures were put into place, a supervisor could install or remove a lock, but that has all changed."
Garcia says in a grain bin operation several reasons dictate the need for a lockout-tag-out (LOTO) procedure. Servicing or the need to repair equipment, clogged augers or moist grain that has clumped together or bridged on side walls are two of the more common reasons that a worker may need to enter the bin.
"Before that can happen a number of procedures must be followed, including logging who and why and when that worker must enter the bin, and even then only after lockout-tag-out procedures have taken place," Garcia added.