As one of approximately three million workers who service and maintain equipment, you need to know how to prevent the serious risks of unexpected machinery startup or the release of hazardous energy. While the risks are significant, by following OSHA’s lockout/tagout safety standards, an estimated 50,000 injuries can be prevented each year.
Hazardous energy comes in multiple forms which include; the kinetic or mechanical energy of moving parts, potential energy stored in pressure vessels, gas tanks, hydraulic or pneumatic systems, electrical energy from generated electrical power, static sources or electrical storage devices such as batteries, high or low temperature thermal energy from mechanical work, radiation, a chemical reaction and electrical resistance.
While performing installation, maintenance, service or repair work near or related to hazardous energy sources these factors can lead to a dangerous situation and, are preventable:
– The failure to completely de-energize, isolate, block, and/or dissipate the hazardous energy source,
– Failure to lockout and tagout energy control devices and isolation points after the hazardous energy source has been de-energized, and
– Failure to verify that the hazardous energy source was de-energized before beginning work.
Our OSHA-compliant hazardous energy control program helps to promote a safe working environment for employees. The central goal of the program is to help you know how to identify at-risk tasks and conduct appropriate methods for controlling hazardous energy.
Our safety program is very comprehensive and includes the following general safety measures. Safe work practices must begin before work commences and be applied at every step. All sources of hazardous energy must be identified, labeled and then de-energized and dissipated, and all energy-isolating devices must undergo lockout and tagout to prevent startup and blocking. We have developed the specific method of energy control based on the form of energy involved. Workers must verify, using appropriate testing equipment, that all energy sources are de-energized before work begins.
After work is complete, a designated individual must inspect the completed work to verify it was performed correctly using the correct replacement parts and that all personnel are clear of danger points before re-energizing the system. Re-energized equipment should be closely monitored for several operating cycles. The lockout/tagout program requires individually assigned locks and keys to secure the energy control devices. Locks and tags must be removed only after workers have been cleared from the danger points and only by the workers who installed them.
Hazardous energy is a powerful force, however when diligently following our lockout/tagout safety program a safe working environment is created for all employees.