One of the problems with storing work equipment of any kind in the workplace is that it doesn’t get returned. This can be due to apathy, indiscipline, distraction and sometimes theft.
It doesn’t matter what storage system you use, you first need to train your workers in the importance of returning the equipment after use.
If the work task location is a long distance from the storage place, this is likely to contribute to equipment not being returned; therefore the siting of storage equipment is hugely important.
For management and workers alike, you must consider what are the consequences of equipment not being returned? The obvious consequence is cost; eventually the equipment will have to be replaced, and this can be expensive.
Thereafter, likely consequences might be disciplinary procedures; but this can be hard to execute when often the perpetrator cannot be reliably identified.
Where isolation padlocks (lockout) are concerned, a further consequence can be injury to workers! How might this happen, I hear you ask. Well if a worker needs to lock off a potentially dangerous energy source, and the isolation padlocks have not been returned, the worker might be inclined to carry out his task without locking out the isolated equipment. A serious risk!
There are many storage solutions on the market from the likes of Brady, Master Lock and North Safety but all rely on the discipline of workers returning the equipment after use. Padlock boards, stations, shadow boards and lockable cabinets all perform the same function but rely on equipment being returned after use.
To address this issue, key management system manufacturer Traka offer a range of innovative and technologically advanced cabinets which compel the equipment user to return it after use. The concept is simplicity itself.
The stored equipment is mechanically retained in place in the cabinet using their iFob which in turn is sealed to the equipment being stored. Behind the scenes, the cabinet is programmed via a PC link with the names of all authorised users of the equipment. The programmable data can include:
Equipment can be released by the use of existing security pass card, iButton or PIN code.
These simple measures have the effect of identifying who took what, when and whether or not it has been returned. If equipment is returned in an inferior condition, the perpetrator can be identified.
The system is now widely used in a variety of applications including vehicle fleet management and hotel room access.
Where lockout tagout padlock and key management systems are concerned, the system is an invaluable aid to increase the safety integrity of any safe isolation procedure.