Circumstances of fatal lockout/tagout-related injuries in manufacturing

Maria T. Bulzacchelli, Jon S. Vernick, Gary S. Sorock, Daniel W. Webster, Peter S.J. Lees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: Over the past few decades, hundreds of manufacturing workers have suffered fatal injuries while performing maintenance and servicing on machinery and equipment. Using lockout/tagout procedures could have prevented many of these deaths. Methods: A narrative text analysis of OSHA accident investigation report summaries was conducted to describe the circumstances of lockout/tagout-related fatalities occurring in the US manufacturing industry from 1984 to 1997. Results: The most common mechanisms of injury were being caught in or between parts of equipment, electrocution, and being struck by or against objects. Typical scenarios included cleaning a mixer or blender, cleaning a conveyor, and installing or disassembling electrical equipment. Lockout procedures were not even attempted in the majority (at least 58.8%) of fatal incidents reviewed. Conclusions: Lockout/tagout-related fatalities occur under a wide range of circumstances. Enhanced training and equipment designs that facilitate lockout and minimize worker contact with machine parts may prevent many lockout/tagout-related injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)728-734
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008


  • Injury
  • Lockout/tagout
  • Machine
  • Manufacturing
  • Occupational safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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