Controlling Hazardous Energy: Lockout and Tagout Programs
Lockout and tagout is an essential aspect of any solid, safety program for manufacturing companies. With LOTO, maintenance employees work with production employees to proactively prevent hazardous energy from causing damage or injury. Hazardous energy can include electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal or other sources in machines that can be dangerous to workers. When maintenance is being performed on equipment, all sources of hazardous energy should be securely locked out until the machine is operational. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recovery.
As an employer, what can you do to protect your employees? Follow OSHA’s steps below:
- Develop, implement, and enforce an energy control program.
- Use lockout devices for equipment that can be locked out. Tagout devices may be used in lieu of lockout devices only if the tagout program provides employee protection equivalent to that provided through a lockout program.
- Ensure that new or overhauled equipment is capable of being locked out.
- Develop, implement and enforce an effective tagout program if machines or equipment aren’t capable of being locked out.
- Develop, document, implement and enforce energy control procedures.
- Use only lockout/tagout devices authorized for the particular equipment or machinery and ensure that they’re durable, standardized and substantial.
- Ensure that lockout/tagout devices identify the individual users.
- Establish a policy that permits only the employee who applied a lockout/tagout device to remove it.
- Inspect energy control procedures at least annually.
- Provide effective training as mandated for all employees covered by the standard.
- Comply with the additional energy control provisions in OSHA standards when machines or equipment must be tested or repositioned, when outside contractors work at the site, in group lockout situations and during shift or personnel changes.
Interested in more tips for keeping your manufacturing facility accident-free? Contact a Safety ‘A’ Team member!
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