The OSHA standard for the control of hazardous energy sources (lockout-tag-out) covers servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment in which the unexpected energization or start up of the machines or equipment or release of stored energy could cause injury to employees. The rule generally requires that energy sources for equipment be turned off or disconnected and that the switch either be locked or labeled with a warning tag. This lockout procedures shall be enforced and implemented from the top management to the ground.
According to the industrial accident reports, the packaging and wrapping equipment, printing presses, and conveyors account for a high proportion of the accidents associated with lockout/tagout failures. Typical injuries include fractures, lacerations, contusions, amputations, and puncture wounds with the average lost time for injuries running 24 days.
Types of Hazardous Energy
- Electrical- servicing equipment often exposes workers to normally guarded electrical wires & components
- Mechanical – machines in motion can cause severe injury of death
- Chemical – block all fluid lines and drain fluids in a controlled manner.
- Thermal – ensure all heat sources are blocked & allow hot equipment to cool before servicing
- Gravitational – during maintenance ensure all parts that can fall are physically blocked – example press plates
Lockout Procedures & Requirements
- Develop an energy control program.
- Use locks when equipment can be locked out.
- Ensure that new equipment or overhauled equipment can accommodate locks.
- Use additional means to ensure safety when tags rather than locks are used by using an effective tagout program.
- Identify and implement specific procedures for the control of hazardous energy including preparation for shutdown, shutdown, equipment isolation, lockout/tagout application, release of stored energy, and verification of isolation.
- Institute procedures for release of lockout/tagout including machine inspection, notification and safe positioning of employees, and removal of the lockout/tagout device.
- Obtain standardized locks and tags which indicate the identity of the employee using them and which are of sufficient quality and durability to ensure their effectiveness.
- Require that each lockout/tagout device be removed by the employee who applied the device.
- Conduct inspections of energy control procedures at least annually.
- Train employees in the specific energy control procedures with training reminders as part of the annual inspections of the control procedures.
- Adopt procedures to ensure safety when equipment must be tested during servicing, when outside contractors are working at the site, when a multiple lockout is needed for a crew servicing equipment, and when shifts or personnel change.