It was 29 years ago, perhaps even to the day, in early August of 1993. I sat in a hangar in the desert outside of Phoenix waiting to skydive for the first time in my life and trying to ignore that this was the first time I experienced 115 degrees. Fun.
Waiting my turn, I thumbed through a skydiving magazine before coming across an article about extreme skydiving. In short, it described how more experienced sky divers lose their fear of jumping out of an airplane and come up with ways that are more exciting, faster, and ultimately more dangerous than simply parachuting down to the earth. In fact, in the introduction to the piece the author pointed out that skydiving is one activity where the risk of an accident actually grows with more experience due to this lack of fear. Now, having jumped out of a plane exactly one time does not make me an expert on this issue, far from it, but that’s not my point.
This week, I took the Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO) course in the Valor 180 Skills online training platform and honestly, it made me think of skydiving and more importantly, the risk involved after one becomes accustomed to working with something potentially dangerous. Maybe I feel this way because I don’t work with industrial equipment. I took this course to have a better understanding of the training our members go through, especially those that are food manufacturers working in the plant.
However, upon doing a little digging, I discovered that LOTO is a serious issue and one of the most reported violations in food plants by OSHA. In fact, this article from Food Processing Magazine highlights a handful of accidents in food processing plants thanks in large part to workers disregarding established LOTO procedures. Was this out of negligence or simply a matter of workers losing their fear about working with potentially dangerous equipment? I expect it’s probably a mix of both.
Nevertheless, the LOTO course was an eye opener for me. As part of the new Food Safety Learning Track that Valor 180 Skills recently launched, this course provides excellent instruction at a low cost for FPSA members. Whether you’re a supplier or processor, I highly encourage you to consider signing up for it, as well as the 800+ other courses in the Valor 180 Skills library.
Andy Drennan, FPSA SVP