Aviation safety innovation for industrial lockout
Back in 2005, Plane Sights introduced a set of durable, high-visibility ground support flags and markers for small aircraft, to ensure that vital steps are always taken in preparing for flight. While these products came into wide use in the aircraft industry, the manufacturers discovered to their surprise that some customers were adapting them to land-based uses in manufacturing facilities.
It didn’t take long for Plane Sights’ parent company, Redfab, to react by creating a new set of products, designed specifically for a critical industrial application: a lockout/tagout system to enhance supervisory oversight of locked-out energy sources.
Manufacturing facilities involve potentially dangerous sources of energy, such as electrical, hydraulic, and pneumatic power for equipment that must be locked out when being serviced or when guarding is removed. Violations of lockout/tagout regulations are listed every year by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OHSA) as one of its “Top 10 Most Frequently Cited Standards.” The new tag system is designed to solve two common problems relating to lockouts.
One problem that the fluorescent colored reflective flags solve is lockout compliance oversight. Supervisors gain the ability to quickly and easily ascertain that locks are in place and keys are where they should be. Technicians are more likely to practice the safe behaviour of locking out correctly when the consequence of not doing so is immediate and certain.
The lockout keys are fitted with a 12×2″ or 18×3″ fluorescent colored reflective flags to make them impossible to mislay or take home accidently. This prevents the costly nuisance of having to cut off locks to start up equipment when the key isn’t available. Matching tags attached to the locks, or standard disposable lock tags in the pouch provided, make them readily visible as well.
Together, the tag system ensures that both locks and keys are always where they are supposed to be, in compliance with lockout regulations. The durable tags are washable, and their fluorescent colours can be coded to match the hazard level associated with particular pieces of equipment.