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Efficient lockout procedures can reduce workplace injuries

Colorado residents may associate the term lockout with striking workers and angry picket lines, but in workplace safety circles the term applies to devices and procedures designed to ensure that dangerous machines are unable to operate while they are being inspected, repaired or moved. Having clear and efficient lockout procedures in place can reduce accidents and injuries and improve productivity.

Communication and training are the foundation of sound lockout practices, and workers will likely be more productive when they have a thorough understanding of the systems in place designed to keep them safe. However, training should be supplemented with regular refresher sessions, and printed lockout procedure materials should be prominently displayed near the machinery in question or stored in a central location accessible to relevant personnel.

Employers concerned about workplace safety may also wish to appoint an individual to act as a lockout coordinator. This person could mentor new employees about the dangers of industrial machinery and the policies and procedures in place to prevent accidents and injuries. The lockout coordinator could also monitor repair work performed on machines and provide assistance to cleaning and maintenance personnel. This individual could also be responsible for ensuring that padlocks and other lockout devices are stored correctly and protective equipment is available to workers when required.

Even the most thorough lockout procedures and practices cannot prevent all accidents, and most injured workers in Colorado are covered by their employer's workers' compensation insurance. However, the claims procedure can be confusing, and injured workers unfamiliar with the paperwork and medical evidence required could see their claims delayed or denied. An attorney can often provide assistance to injured victims throughout the process.

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