Monday, October 25, 2010

Electricity can KILL!

Some years ago a young worker at an automatic wash was asked by a manager to remove a defective motor. He had disconnected it from the three wires that were supplying the power but unfortunately unaware that the actual power circuit was not de-energized he continued with the motor removal - at the same time a car entered the tunnel automatically activating the power resulting death by electrocution. He died instantly.

Electricity is an integral part of the everyday life at a carwash. It is imperative that all employees recognize the dangerous circumstances that surround electrical power. With that in mind it is essential to train any employee who may work on any electrical power source. OSHA mandates that all operators have a lock out/ tag out program in place at each location. This is intended to insure that there are proper procedures for shutting down the equipment while maintenance is occurring, so that it can not be unexpectedly started. Your agent or loss control representative will be able to help you design this plan for each of your locations.

Note that OSHA also requires a system for the use of ladders. I am aware of an incident where an employee took it upon himself to fix a potential problem. He used a ladder at the facility to investigate some loose wiring and was severally burned as a result. OSHA requires a written program for ladders at your carwash. One of those requirements is keeping the ladders secured and locked, accessible to trained managers only. In this case the employee was neither a manager nor trained to preform the task. Had this mandated procedure been in place this loss could have been avoided.

Yet another example of ladder misuse ended in a $2million dollar payout. A subcontractor borrowed the carwashes ladder to inspect some roof equipment rather than using his own. As it turned out the ladder he borrowed was defective and resulted in a serious back injury. Aagin had the written and secure procedure been in place this injury could have been avoid.

What are your procedures when it comes to ladders and electricty.....share it with us!