If any employee of any company is required to perform maintenance or repair work on machinery or equipment, a formal “Lockout Tagout” safety program should be in place. This program outlines machine specific procedures for proper shut-down and training for working on equipment. It should also include the training that is required for those employees who operate, service or work on the equipment in question. These specific procedures for properly “locking and tagging” must be followed during service or maintenance of machines to avoid the “unexpected energization or start up of the machinery or equipment, or the release of stored energy, which could cause injury to employees.”
Any person who operates, cleans or services machinery or equipment should be aware of the hazards presented by that machine. Any type of powered machinery or electrical equipment that can move in such a way as to harm a person or potentially put them in danger is a hazard that can and should be prevented by following an appropriate locking and tagging procedure. Failure to do so can result in serious injury or even fatal accidents.
Steps taken to safely de-energize equipment should include:
• Notify all “affected employees” that this equipment will be shut down for maintenance
• Shut down the equipment by using normal stopping procedures (parking, turning off ignition, etc.)
• “Isolate” all the equipment’s stored energy sources
• Lock out and/or tag out the energy isolating devices with appropriate locks, tags, etc. (Isolating devices include the key ignition or any other “start up” device)
• Release or restrain any potentially stored energy by grounding or blocking
• Test the equipment to ensure that it is inoperable prior to beginning maintenance/repair work
Knowing what you can do to prevent accidental injury from moving machinery parts is of key importance:
• Ensure that you are aware of the hazards associated with the equipment at hand prior to performing any maintenance work on it.
• Ensure that you know all the energy that could potentially affect the task (such as gravity, hydraulic, steam, electric, etc.)
• Ensure that you control the accidental release of the energy prior to beginning work on the equipment by properly locking and tagging the appropriate piece(s).
• Test the energy after you believe it has been isolated. This is an extremely simple and quick step that is all-too often overlooked but is probably the most important. Doing so could save you from a potential fatal accident.