“I’ll just be a moment.” “No one would throw the switch while I’m working on the machine.” This workplace fatality shows there’s never a good reason not to lock out equipment while maintenance is being performed.
Thomas Pelton, 35, was changing blades on a lumber cutting machine at B&B Lumber in DeWitt, NY, on Feb. 7.
Another worker “hit the wrong switch,” according to police, and turned on the machine.
Pelton was caught in the machine and killed instantly. Police say he was dead when they arrived.
Both Pelton and the other employee were long-time employees of the lumber company.
An OSHA representative arrived at B&B, which is standard practice for a workplace fatality. The agency’s investigation could take up to six months.
Unfortunately, workers sometimes need to be reminded that, even when a shutdown will be quick for something like changing a part, they need to lock out and tag out the machine to avoid catastrophes such as this one.