Lockout Tagout Protocol Lapse Costs Employee His Life

Lockout Tagout Protocol Violation costs Nissan employee his life.Machine guarding and lockout tagout protocol for safety are rapidly becoming a major reason for injury and death in America. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently conducted an investigation, following a November 16, 2016 incident which cost a Nissan North America employee his life. OSHA cited the company for numerous items, including one (1) serious and one (1) repeat violation. The proposed penalty for these citations is $29,000.

The incident occurred when 46-year-old maintenance technician, Dennis Pinkston, was assigned to repair a malfunctioning elevator. Pinkston and a maintenance crew found that the roller-drive motor for the elevator, a device designed to move car-seat pallets from one conveyor system to another, was broken. When conducting repairs on the elevator, the maintenance crew removed a machine guard. Once the repairs we completed, the crew ran a test on the machine but the guard was not replaced for the test-run. Pinkston leaned into an opening to look under the lift-table, as it was being raised, and was struck in the back of the head by a counterbalance weight that was descending. Pinkston was transported to a nearby hospital but ultimately died from his injury.


The agency determined that the following violations existed:


  • Failure to perform routine equipment inspection, per 29 CFR 1910.147
  • Failure to replace machine guarding, per lockout tagout protocol regulations



The company previously had been cited for a lockout/tagout violation in 2014.

A Nissan North America representative said, “The safety and well-being of our employees is always our top priority. We dedicate extensive time and resources to safety programs and training at the plant. Nissan is working through TOSHA’s established process to contest these citations and bring this matter to a close. We also continue to work on determining what can be done to prevent future occurrences.”

The lockout tagout protocol is among the most crucial of OSHA standards. One resource that safety leaders can utilize to ensure the safety of their employees, as well as regulatory compliance, is an OSHA-approved online training course.