Locking out and tagging electrically charged equipment is an important component of a facility safety program to protect employees.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates lockout/tagout under its "control of hazardous energy standard" [29 CFR §1910.147]. This standard mandates training, audits and recordkeeping to protect workers from being unintentionally injured by the unexpected energization, start-up, or release of electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal or any other type of energy. In CPL 02-00-147, OSHA established policies and provided clarifications as to how it will enforce this standard.
What is Lockout/Tagout? Lockout/tagout is designed to prevent the accidental start-up of machines or other equipment during maintenance or servicing to protect the safety and health of employees, and safeguard equipment from damage.
Lock-out (deenergizing) is the process of blocking the flow of energy from a power source to a piece of equipment, and keeping it blocked out.
- Lock-out is accomplished by installing a lock-out device at the power source so that equipment powered by that source cannot be operated. A lock-out device is a lock, block, or chain that keeps a valve or lever in the off position.
- Locks are provided by the employer and can be used only for lock-out purposes. They never should be used to lock tool boxes, storage sheds or other devices.
- Informing all affected employees of the impending shut down.
- Shutting down the machine by following the normal method for shutdown.
- Turning off the energy at the main power source.
- Locking out all energy sources involved, using unique locks not used for other purposes.
- Releasing and/or relieving all sources of stored energy.
- Turning the machine back on to confirm that the power source has been deactivated.
- Attempting to restart the machine to guarantee that the power is shut off, then returning the switch to the off position.
Additional employer requirements:
- Develop written machine-specific procedures for locking out each piece of equipment or each generic grouping of equipment (such as augers)
- Periodically "field test" all authorized employees on locking out each energy source they are authorized to lock out.
- OSHA's Control of Hazardous Energy Safety and Health Topics at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/controlhazardousenergy/index.html
- OSHA's Lockout/Tagout Interactive Training program at http://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/lototraining/index.html