Back in the '90's, Jefferson Lab was building an electron beam accelerator utilized by physicists to shoot electrons at almost the speed of light. As work continued in full force on the accelerator, a device to secure power equipment while not in use was nonexistent. As accelerator electronics support technical associate, Rick Gonzales searched endlessly for a lockout to secure equipment that would eliminate the hazard posed by untrained professionals plugging in unauthorized power supplies. The need was there, but the piece was not available.
In the meantime, duct tape with the words in bold black letters, "Do Not Use," would have to do. After one idea to secure the equipment did not pan out, years later, Rick realized he knew exactly what was needed to keep people safe. In 1997, he invented the solution himself. He developed an affordable device that would prove not only to serve the safety need throughout various industries but would serve personal use as well.
Since no safety manufacturers were willing to produce the device, Rick decided to fabricate the lockout device himself. He had an injection mold and a tool-and-die piece specially made and acquired the other parts from hardware manufacturers. In 1998, the device was patented.
Rick's distributors were pleased that the lockout 320 addressed their customers' safety and security concerns, since the device could be used commercially to prohibit a recessed plug that uses a detachable power cord from being plugged in, and when utilized with a bolted cable to a desk it could deter theft of a computer.
Southside Safety began in the spring of 2000 with its first sale to Major Safety Service in Norfolk, Virginia in the fall of 2001. Currently, more than 19,000 lockouts have been sold worldwide.