LOTO – Lockout Tagout/Blockout

The basic premise of lockout/tagout (LOTO) is simple: ensure equipment, machinery or vehicles are safe to service or perform maintenance on by locking energy-isolating devices on them (or attaching tags if locking is impossible).  The goal is to ensure authorized employees can complete their work without fear of a machine starting (or being started) while they’re in harm’s way.

Key principles:

  • Notify workers in the area that LOTO procedures will be taking place.
  • Use appropriate locks or tags for the job.
  • Locks and tags must be marked with the names (or even photos) of the workers authorized to use them.
  • Never use other people’s locks and never attach or remove a lock on behalf of someone else.
  • Don’t use duplicate keys.
  • If more than one employee is working on the machine, every person must attach their own lock to a hasp at each isolation point.
  • a group lockbox for Large or complex pieces of equipment with many hazardous energy sources may be needed.
  • Locks and tags should be strong enough to prevent accidental removal.
  • Remember to check for and lockout secondary sources of hazardous energy.
  • If there is more than one person working on a machine, each one of them should verify the lockout.
  • Remove locks or tags once the work is completed. There should be procedures in place to deal with shift changeovers that occur in the middle of servicing equipment that is locked/tagged out.
  • Return the equipment to proper operation and ensure correct functioning.
  • Notify workers in the area that LOTO-related work has been completed.

Despite the importance of lockout/tagout as a life-saving practice, there are still numerous violations of LOTO procedures each year. In fact, lockout/tagout has the dubious honor of holding a long-standing spot on OSHA’s top ten cited violations.

LOTO is one of our Company wide Cardinal Rules!

LOTO best practices. Because after all, no job is so important that it’s worth risking someone’s life to finish.

What an IIPP Is and How It Works

The Injury and Illness Prevention Program (IIPP) is a basic written workplace safety program. Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations (T8CCR) section 3203, requires every employer to develop and implement an effective IIPP. An effective IIPP improves the safety and health in your workplace and reduces costs by good management and employee involvement. The 8 required Injury and Illness Prevention Program elements are:

  1. Responsibility
  2. Compliance
  3. Communication
  4. Hazard Assessment
  5. Accident/Exposure Investigation
  6. Hazard Correction
  7. Training and Instruction
  8. Recordkeeping

To be effective your IIPP must:

  • Fully involve all employees, supervisors, and management
  • Identify the specific workplace hazards employees are exposed to
  • Correct identified hazards in an appropriate and timely manner
  • Provide effective training  

Remember, how well you actually put into practice your IIPP in your workplace is what will determine how effective it is. You must regularly review and update your IIPP in order for it to remain effective.

Hazcom and the Globally Harmonized System

Requirements for a Hazard Communication Program

All employers with hazardous chemicals in their workplaces must have labels and safety data sheets for their exposed workers, and train them to handle the chemicals appropriately.

Hazard classification: Provides specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures.

Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers are required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram, and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.

Safety Data Sheets are now printed in a standardized 16-section format. These 16 sections cover PPE, proper usage of product, Pictorgrams showing the Hazards, warning phrases and much more. The 16 sections of any SDS are as follows:

Section 1—Identification:  Product identifier, manufacturer or distributor name, address, phone number, emergency phone number, recommended use, and restrictions on use.

Section 2—Hazard(s) identification: All hazards regarding the chemical and required label elements.

Section 3—Composition/Information on ingredients:  Information on chemical ingredients and trade secret claims.

Section 4—First-aid measures:  Required first aid treatment for exposure to a chemical and the symptoms (immediate or delayed) of exposure.

Section 5—Fire-fighting measures:  The techniques and equipment recommended for extinguishing a fire involving the chemical and hazards that may be created during combustion.

Section 6—Accidental release measures:  Steps to take in the event of a spill or release involving the chemical.  Includes: emergency procedures, protective equipment and proper methods of containment and cleanup.

Section 7—Handling and storage: Precautions for safe handling and storage, including incompatibilities.

Section 8—Exposure controls/Personal protection:  OSHA’s permissible exposure limits (PELs), threshold limit values (TLVs), appropriate engineering controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Section 9—Physical and chemical properties:  The chemical’s characteristics.

Section 10—Stability and reactivity:  Chemical stability and possible hazardous reactions.

Section 11—Toxicological information:  Routes of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, or absorption contact), symptoms, acute and chronic effects, and numerical measures of toxicity.

Section 12—Ecological information:  How the chemical might affect the environment and the duration of the effect.

Section 13—Disposal considerations—describes safe handling of wastes and methods of disposal, including the disposal of any contaminated packaging.

Section 14—Transportation information—includes packing, marking, and labeling requirements for hazardous chemical shipments.

Section 15—Regulatory information—indicates regulations that apply to chemical.

Section 16—Other information—includes date of preparation or last revision.

Combustible Dust, house keeping and Fire prevention.

Combustible dust is any fine material that has the ability to catch fire and explode when mixed with air. Combustible dusts can be from: most solid organic materials (such as sugar, flour, grain, wood, etc. ) many metals, and ; some nonmetallic inorganic materials.

What is combustible dust and why should you care ? For starters, combustible dusts can actually cause explosions under certain conditions. there are 5 elements that must be present to cause a dust explosion. 1. ignition source, 2. fuel (dust), 3. confined space, 4. dispersion or suspension, the dust becomes suspended in the air, 5. oxygen. The logical way to prevent a dust explosion is to eliminate one or more of the five elements. Fuel is the one thing we can control, good housekeeping is a must. The second element we must control is a heat source or ignition source. Preventive maintenance and hot works permits are key functions in preventing fires and explosions.

Back Safety and Safe Lifting

An alarming 80% of back injuries come from Lifting, carrying, Holding, Lowering and Placing objects. Whether you work in a production type environment or in an office, following some simple prevention methods can help you prevent back & neck injuries.



Industrial Vehicle Hazards

Feed manufacturing and shipping cannot be accomplished on a large scale, without the use of heavy mobile equipment.  Along with the benefits of these tools come hazards that must be understood and managed.  

Confined Space Safety

Many workplaces contain areas that are considered “confined spaces” because while they are not necessarily designed for people, they are large enough for workers to enter and perform certain jobs. A confined space also has limited or restricted means for entry or exit and is not designed for continuous occupancy. Confined spaces include, but are not limited to, tanks, vessels, silos, storage bins, hoppers, vaults, pits, manholes, tunnels, equipment housings, ductwork, pipelines, etc.

OSHA uses the term “permit-required confined space” (permit space) to describe a confined space that has one or more of the following characteristics: contains or has the potential to contain a hazardous atmosphere; contains material that has the potential to engulf an entrant; has walls that converge inward or floors that slope downward and taper into a smaller area which could trap or asphyxiate an entrant; or contains any other recognized safety or health hazard, such as unguarded machinery, exposed live wires, or heat stress.

Our Safety Program specifically outlines responsibilities for Confined Space Entry Supervisors, entrants and attendants.  Do not work near or in Confined Spaces without knowing and practicing our Confined Space Safety Program.  Thanks and be safe!

For more information on Confined Spaces contact your Safety Department representative and/or visit https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/confinedspaces/index.html

Emergency Action Plan – Ready for Anything

An emergency action plan (EAP) is a written document required by particular OSHA standards. The purpose of an EAP is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. Well-developed emergency plans and proper employee training (such that employees understand their roles and responsibilities within the plan) will result in fewer and less severe employee injuries and less structural damage to the facility during emergencies.

It’s important that we regularly train EAP’s and that you know and understand emergency procedures.  Please watch the videos and complete the training and quiz attached to this month’s Safety Topic.  Thanks for continuing to improve our Safety Culture!

Satisfies OSHA training requirement for “Emergency Action Plan”.

First Aid Basics June 2019

Our number one priority is preventing injuries from occurring, but knowing how to respond in the case of an injury incident is very important.

In the case of a major illness or injury it’s important to know when to contact emergency medical services as well as how to treat the victim until help arrives.  June’s First Aid Training Unit will help guide you through the process of treating some of these general industry illness and injuries.

This Training will also emphasize the importance of treating minor injuries. Even a small cut may turn into a more serious condition if not treated immediately and the risk of bloodborne pathogens can be contained if the injury is reported and the area where the First Aid occurred is checked appropriately and cleaned if necessary.

The material in this training can help at home as well, as your basic First Aid treatment knowledge could help save a life both in and outside of the workplace.

Training Requirement Satisfied – First Aid & CPR


Heat Stress & Prevention

When the temperature starts to rise so does the possibility of Heat Stress and Heat Illness and it’s important to keep a close eye on our peers who work both inside and outside in hot conditions. This month’s topic and training focuses on how to prevent Heat Illness.

With safety observations, preventative measures and cool down & water break reminders we can stop Heat Stress before it starts.

There are a few extra resources in our Training this month.

1) A video on Heat Stress and the Body’s Cooling Down System

2) An alternate power point training (if you would rather teach than watch the video) and an optional handout that can be given to employees to take home or keep at work.

A few Reminders from the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health: “Workers who are exposed to extreme heat or work in hot environments may be at risk of heat stress. Exposure to extreme heat can result in occupational illnesses and injuries. Heat stress can result in heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, or heat rashes.

Workers at greater risk of heat stress include those who are 65 years of age or older, are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take medications that may be affected by extreme heat.” -NIOSH HEAT STRESS https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/default.html

California Code of Regulations; Title 8, Section 3395 Heat Illness Prevention

Fall Protection and Prevention

Fall Protection and Prevention has been a big concern for all industries for many years now and for good reason. Fall Protection was OSHA’s #1 workplace violation for both 2016 & 2017 with over 6,000 violations cited by OSHA in 2017 alone.

According to the National Safety Council “Slips, trips and falls are a leading cause of injury and death for workers. Falls to a lower level are the second-most common cause of workplace death, surpassed only by highway crashes” -nsc.org Safety Spotlight.

The seriousness of the issue hit home with us this past year and this family of companies is striving to eliminate fall hazards and prevent unnecessary injury and/or death. It’s important not to fall behind with our convictions and maintain an approach of continuous improvement at each facility. Make the elimination or mitigation of hazards your daily priority. Treat every potential fall hazard seriously, regardless of the age of your facility, the familiarity your employees have with your facility or equipment and/or time spent without fall injury or loss time incident

According to osha.gov, “to prevent employees from being injured from falls, employers must:

◾Guard every floor hole into which a worker can accidentally walk by use of a railing and toeboard or a floor hole cover.

◾Provide a guardrail and toeboard around every open-sided platform, floor or runway that is 4 feet or higher off the ground or next level.

◾Regardless of height, if a worker can fall into or onto dangerous machines or equipment (such as a vat of acid or a conveyor belt), employers must provide guardrails and toeboards to prevent workers from falling and getting injured.

◾Other means of fall protection that may be required on certain jobs include safety harness and line, safety nets, stair railings and handrails.”

April’s Fall Protection and Prevention Training has been updated to a power point training reflecting common themes and concerns we’ve recently faced in the Grain & Feed, Farm, Orchard and Trucking Industry. Pay close attention to the material and ensure that your audience is attentive as well.

CalOSHA Training Requirement Satisfied = Fall Protection

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is the last line of defense against workplace hazards but there is no question that the correct and consistent use of PPE in the workplace or at home, will reduce injuries and prevent unnecessary fatalities.

Although hazard controls such as Elimination, Engineering and Administrative options must be considered first, if PPE is deemed the acceptable option to prevent injury it must become habit for all employees and should be reasonably enforced by the employer.

Taking a moment to consider what PPE is necessary before starting any job or task could be the difference between life and death.

Furthermore, wearing PPE correctly the way it was designed to be worn could be the difference between Near Miss and severe injury. Never let simple comfort or style get in the way of donning PPE appropriately or wearing PPE when necessary.

Leaders – Take a moment and ensure your employees are wearing the required PPE the next time you conduct a routine workplace observation. If they are wearing PPE, are they wearing it correctly?

CalOSHA Training Requirement  – “Personal Protective Equipment”


LOTO – Lockout Tagout/Blockout

Working on any equipment without first isolating all sources of energy is dangerous and could injure or kill you and/or peers.  Do not perform maintenance on any equipment that requires LOTO unless you have been trained to do so.

Hazardous energy sources that need to be controlled include: Electrical, Mechanical, Pneumatic, Hydraulic, Chemical & Thermal.

Pressurized air (pneumatic source) is frequently used to power gates, mixer doors, and valves.  This requires LOTO just like any other power source that can injure or kill.

Electrical sources from 110V to 480V are scattered throughout our mills and offices to power equipment. Depending on the amperage and the human body’s reaction, any one of these sources can kill a person.

Remember, safety is our utmost top priority. Energy sources that power our day-to-day are tremendously beneficial but need to be treated with respect and maintained safely without exeption.

Our LOTO written program is located and accessible to users on the Train Trac under “Written Programs”.

CalOSHA Training Requirement Satisfied – “Lockout/Blockout.”