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Tool tags for safety

Inventory Labels Employers who don't tag faulty equipment lose lawsuits. According to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics' National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, about one tenth of all fatal occupational injuries in 2009 were from contact with electric current, often as a result of dangerous machinery in need of repair. OSHA requires that employers check workplace equipment frequently to make sure it's usable and showing no signs of damage – and that bosses notify workers when a tool is broken. (One other way in which asset tags can be useful – you can use barcode tags to log not just whether an item is there, but also whether it's been serviced or checked to make sure it's in working order.)

So you don't only need tool tags when you're trying to keep your tools in their place. Whether you work in construction, maintenance, on a farm or at a school, you need to make sure everyone knows when a piece of large equipment is in need of repair or inspection, or when an item is defective. A brightly colored safety tag provides an immediate warning that the item shouldn't be used.

Good repair tags include fields for administrators to fill out, too, so that everyone knows what they need to about the tool, from the individual piece of equipment's ID number to space for work order numbers to a perforated tag to the date the item was taken out of service. Tags like this mean procedure, and procedure means accountability.

Because regulations change with some frequency, be sure to consult both national and local standards.