4. Shut it Off and Lock it Out

Before you work on or attempt to clean or unchoke a machine, turn the power off and lock the electrical switch in the off position. Otherwise, someone else can come along and start the machine while you are working on it. Several major accidents have happened due to failure to lock out equipment.


  • Never work on any equipment while it is running.
  • Before you get into a dangerous position in or around machinery, put a lock on the electrical switch and take all the keys with you. Never give anyone a key to your lock.
  • After locking out, always test the lock out by trying to start the equipment. You could have locked the wrong switch.
  • Equipment should be shut down when any machine needs repair. Economic studies show that energy costs make it cheaper to shut down equipment rather than allowing it to idle if it is down for several minutes.
  • Be aware of machines which start and stop automatically. They are especially dangerous to work on since it takes a special effort to determine if the power switch is off or if the machine is only in the “pause” operational phase.
  • Think for a moment what it would be like to have your arms inside a potting machine and suddenly the power comes on . Just thinking about such a thing is awful and should be plenty of motivation to turn all equipment off and lock it out before cleaning or repairing machinery.
  • Remember, failure to follow safety procedures properly or to pay attention to workplace safety could result in injury to you or your fellow workers.

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