February, 2015 – Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. A 45-year-old worker died in a gruesome accident at a plastic window and door panel factory. The worker and a coworker were cleaning a plastic pellet mixer when the accident happened.
As the worker got inside the steel drum to clean it, his coworker went to the controls to turn on a water tank by the mixer, but the coworker accidentally hit the wrong button and instead turned on the shredder. It was already too late when he realised his mistake as the yelling and screaming from the deceased worker stopped.
According to the coworker the button for the water tank is the same color as the shredder activation button and that it was just a mistake, but with tragic outcome. The police will investigate if the controls are correctly labelled and if the factory is liable for the accident.
A Lock out, tag out (LOTO) system would probably have prevented this from happening. Lock out, tag out is a safety procedure used to ensure that dangerous equipment is properly shut off and not able to be started up again prior to the completion of maintenance or repair work. It requires that hazardous energy sources be “isolated and rendered inoperative” before work is started on the equipment in question. The isolated power sources are then locked and a tag is placed on the lock identifying the worker and reason the LOTO is placed on it. The worker then holds the key for the lock, ensuring that only they can remove the lock and start the equipment. This prevents accidental startup of equipment while it is in a hazardous state or while a worker is in direct contact with it.