Proper lockout/tagout practices and procedures safegaurd workers from the release of hazardous energy.
Control of Hazardous Energy
(Lockout & Tagout)
What is hazardous energy?
Energy sources including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal or other sources in machines and equipment can be hazardous to workers. During the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment, the unexpected start-up or release of stored energy could cause injury to employees.
What are the harmful effects of hazardous energy?
Workers servicing or maintaining machines or equipment may be seriously injured or killed if hazardous energy is not properly controlled. Injuries resulting from the failure to control hazardous energy during maintenance activities can be serious or fatal! Injuries may include electrocution, burns, crushing, cutting, lacerating, amputating, or fracturing body parts, and others.
A steam valve is automatically turned on burning workers who are
repairing a downstream connection in the piping.
A jammed conveyor system suddenly releases crushing a worker who is
trying to clear the jam.
Internal wiring on a piece of factory equipment electrically shorts
shocking employee who is repairing the equipment.
Craft workers, electricians, machine operators, and labourers are among the 3 million workers who service equipment routinely and face the greatest risk of injury. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation.
What can be done to control hazardous energy?
Proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from the release of hazardous energy.
The relevant standards establish requirements that employers must follow when employees are exposed to hazardous energy while servicing and maintaining equipment and machinery. Some of the most critical requirements from these standards are outlined below:
Develop, implement, and enforce an energy control programme.
Use lockout devices for equipment that can be locked out. Tagout devices may be used.
In lieu of lockout devices only if the tagout programme provides employee protection equivalent to that provided through a lockout programme.
Ensure that new or overhauled equipment is capable of being locked out.
Develop, implement, and enforce an effective tagout programme if machines or equipment are not capable of being locked out.
Develop, document, implement, and enforce energy control procedures.
Use only lockout/tagout devices authorised for the particular equipment or machinery and ensure that they are durable, standardised, and substantial.
Ensure that lockout/tagout devices identify the individual users.
Establish a policy that permits only the employee who applied a lockout/tagout device to remove it.
Inspect energy control procedures at least annually.
Provide effective training as mandated for all employees covered by the standard.
Comply with the additional energy control provisions in OSHA standards when machines or equipment must be tested or repositioned, when outside contractors work at the site, in group lockout situations, and during shift or personnel changes.