Pros and Cons
When creating a lockout/tagout procedure, the primary function is to keep the employees safe during maintenance. OSHA’s 1910.147, The Control of Hazardous Energy, states that machine-specific procedures are required for each piece of equipment that has two or more energy sources. Depending on the size of the facility, the amount of procedures that is required could range from low hundreds to thousands, which can be very overwhelming for the safety director. Many employees who are in charge of the lockout/tagout program find creating and implementing procedures extremely stressful and time consuming; therefore, some have hired full time employees to solely create and implement the procedures. Hire a full time employee to create the lockout-tagout procedures is a great idea, if the employee in charge does not have enough time, however, the employee who is hired shall be knowledgeable in lockout/tagout and even have past experience dealing with it. Therefore, hiring an intern to create the lockout/tagout procedures is not the best idea.
Although interns will be less expensive to fund, many interns do not have any past experience or knowledge of lockout/tagout and/or the equipment. Many interns who are hired are typically college students; which can pretty much confirm that they may not even know what lockout/tagout is. Not only will they be inexperienced with lockout/tagout, but they will also be inexperienced within the facility. A large portion of creating and implementing safe and accurate lockout/tagout procedures is to know the equipment, which means knowing where disconnects are and knowing the hazards associated with each piece of equipment, which an intern would not be familiar with.
Additionally, hiring an intern to create and implement the lockout/tagout procedures, means that that particular company is relying on the intern to create documents that will keep all the employees safe and fines from occurring; which is a lot of pressure to put on a college student who more than likely has never heard of lockout/tagout.
Therefore, a company may hire an intern to create their lockout/tagout procedures, however, it isn’t recommended. If a company is feeling overwhelmed with the creating and implementation of a lockout/tagout program, the best bet is to hire a third party to come and complete it. A third party can complete the same amount of work the site would in about a third amount of time. Nevertheless, if a company does not have the funds to hire a third party to complete the project, then it is recommended to have a current employee (maintenance preferred), who is familiar with lockout/tagout, the equipment, and computers, to create the procedures. Give the employee goals of creating 10 a week to begin with, and continue from there.
Although an intern may be a cheaper and easier solution to the problem, it doesn’t mean that it is the right one for this decision. It may take longer to complete the program using an in-house employee; however, the integrity of the program and safety of the employees will be accounted for and withstood.
Creation of procedures and an implementation of a complete lockout/tagout program can be taxing. ESC Services is the global leader in lockout/tagout and has created hundreds of thousands of lockout/tagout procedures over the past ten years. Contact ESC Services today for further information.