- Identify the types of energy that can be a hazard to workers in generation facilities.
- Explain the fundamental procedures to follow for establishing and working under locks and tags.
- Describe the differences in energy control roles between authorized and affected employees.
- Determine whether a lockout or tagout device meets requirements for appearance, strength and durability.
- Identify the limitations of using tags without locks.
- Define the procedures for applying and removing locks and tags.
- Explain the special OSHA requirements for temporary removal of locks or tags, group lockouts and tagouts, shift change turnover, and training of outside service personnel.
- Define the OSHA requirements for training and retraining.
Available in English
Labor Statistics, OSHA
Hazardous energy comes in many forms including electricity, steam, high pressure air or water, hydraulic pressures, and mechanical energy in equipment such as presses and lathes. What makes this category of energy and energized devices hazardous is their highly unpredictable nature, which presents risk when handled improperly. Under certain circumstances, it is difficult to wield tools powered by hazardous energy sources, but with a little knowledge of how to identify this power and how to mitigate the risks involved, work can be performed without incident.
To counteract the unpredictability and associated risk of working with or around hazardous energies, electrical workers should be more than a little familiar with lockout/tagout procedures.
Of course, linemen, lineworkers, are familiar with electricity as a hazardous energy that must be controlled or harnessed to be used effectively. In order for workers to safely perform equipment maintenance and repair, the equipment must be isolated from all hazardous energy sources for the duration of the work. Valves, switches, and other mechanical devices are used to control the flow of energy. When properly closed, opened, or disengaged, these devices isolate energy from the equipment.
Using a system of locks and tags (lockout/tagout)(LOTO) to prevent unwanted operation of these devices adds an extra margin of safety for the people working on the equipment. Blocking or removing components can provide even more safety, as engineered controls.
What Is a Hazardous Energy Control Program (HECP)?
A Hazardous Energy Control Program sets the procedures for proper isolation of hazardous energy sources and the installation and removal of protective locks and tags. Whether opening a circuit breaker, closing a valve, or installing a blocking apparatus, to ensure greater safety OSHA requires that proper isolation must include either a lockout or a tagout system.
If an energy isolating device is capable of being locked out, the lockout system should be used. If, however, an energy isolating device is not capable of being locked out, a tagout system should be used.
Additional safety measures should be used when possible, such as blocking a control switch, removing an isolating circuit element, opening an extra disconnecting device, or removing a valve handle.
Employers Training Responsibilities
- The company’s hazardous energy control program (HECP).
- The knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage, and removal of energy control devices.
- Be able to recognize potential hazardous energy sources.
- Must recognize the type and magnitude of energy available in the workplace.
Workers must know the methods and means necessary for isolating and controlling energy, and must practice hazardous energy control procedures thoroughly.
Locks and tags must be standardized within the facility in at least one of the following criteria: color, shape, or size. Lockout and tagout devices must be uniquely identified, be the only devices used for controlling energy, and may not be used for other purposes.
Tag print and format are to be standardized so they are immediately recognized as tagout tags and get due consideration and treatment; variation or haphazard attention these details can create a dangerous uncertainty. Tags must warn against hazardous conditions should the machine or equipment be inadvertently re-energized, and must include wording such as the following: Do Not Start, Do Not Open, Do Not Close, Do Not Energize, or Do Not Operate. Tags should be as bright and clear as possible about the dangers involved.
Tags must include provisions for determining the identity of the employee or employees applying the device. Employee identification should include name and phone number. Photo tags are available that also include an employee photo, which is one way to accomplish identification.
Locks and tags must have the strength and durability to provide hazardous energy protection in any conditions in which they’re used. Locks and tag attachments must be substantial enough to prevent inadvertent or accidental removal, and substantial enough to prevent removal without the use of excessive force or unusual techniques, such as the use of bolt cutters or metal cutting tools.
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