To ensure employees’ safety when electrical equipment is inspected, serviced or repaired, cut off the power source and follow lockout/tagout procedures. OSHA’s standard on the Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout), found in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1910.147, spells out the steps employers must take to prevent accidents associated with hazardous energy
What is lockout/tagout?
“Lockout/tagout” refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.
- This requires, in part, that a designated individual turns off and disconnects the machinery or equipment from its energy source(s) before performing service or maintenance and,
- That the authorized employee(s) either lock or tag the energy-isolating device(s) to prevent the release of hazardous energy and take steps to verify that the energy has been isolated effectively.
If the potential exists for the release of hazardous stored energy or for the reaccumulation of stored energy to a hazardous level, the employer must ensure that the employee(s) take steps to prevent injury that may result from the release of the stored energy.
What must workers do before they begin service or maintenance activities?
Before beginning service or maintenance, the following steps must be accomplished in sequence and according to the specific provisions of the employer’s energy-control procedure:
- Prepare for shutdown,
- Shut down the machine,
- Disconnect or isolate the machine from the energy source(s),
- Apply the lockout or tagout device(s) to the energy-isolating device(s),
- Release, restrain or otherwise render safe all potentially hazardous stored or residual energy, and
- Verify the isolation and deenergization of the machine.
Why do I need to be concerned about lockout/tagout?
Employees can be seriously or fatally injured if machinery they service or maintain unexpectedly energizes, starts up, or releases stored energy. Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1910.147 addresses practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery and prevent the release of potentially hazardous energy while maintenance or servicing activities are performed.
When do I use lockout and how do I do it?
You must use a lockout program (or tagout program that provides a level of protection equal to that achieved through lockout) whenever your employees engage in service or maintenance operations on machines that are capable of being locked out and that expose them to hazardous energy from unexpected energization, startup, or release of stored energy.
The primary way to prevent the release of hazardous energy during service and maintenance activities is by using energy-isolating devices such as manually operated circuit breakers, disconnect switches, and line valves and safety blocks. Lockout requires use of a lock or other lockout device to hold the energy-isolating device in a safe position to prevent machinery from becoming reenergized. Lockout also requires employees to follow an established procedure to ensure that machinery will not be reenergized until the same employee who placed the lockout device on the energy-isolating device removes it.
Examples of when lockout/tagout is used:
- An electrical current or other operating hazard exists that could result in injury when servicing, repairing or inspecting electrical equipment
- Removing or bypassing a machine guard or other safety device
- Clearing a jam in equipment
Small to mid-size employers use Professional Employer Organizations (PEO) such as LCR Resource, Inc. to assist them in keeping a safe work place. PEO’s can assist in training staff through toolbox talks and establish safety practices to eliminate potential risk factors. Give us a call to find out more (915) 701-2325
Source DOL / OSHA.Gov