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Introduction Each year nearly 150 people die because there was a failure to control energy in the workplace. These deaths could be avoided if workers would take the time to perform proper LOCKOUT/TAGOUT procedures. A lack of respect for the hazards of energy could cost your life or that of your coworker.
Introduction The purpose of LOCKOUT/TAGOUT (LO/TO) procedures is to prevent injuries and deaths that result from the accidental release of energy. Everyone in the workplace needs to know about LO/TO procedures, whether or not they are responsible for the locks and tags.
What are locks? A lock is any sort of device that “locks out” any electrical or other type of device. A lock is most often placed on machinery to turn it off and prevent it from starting again. Locks prevent switches from being activated or valves from being turned on. Locks are most often used when machinery needs maintenance or repair.
What are tags? A tag is any sort of card, paper, or metal marker that is tied to a lock. A tag usually indicates who placed the tag, the date it was placed, names of workers involved, the supervisor’s name, and the equipment being worked on. Tags warn that machinery or equipment has been de-energized so work can be safely performed.
Accidents Can Be Prevented For example, a worker is instructed to clean an asphalt mixing machine. While he is in the process of changing the paddles, another worker bumps a switch and the mixer door closes, hits the worker on the head, and kills him. Many employees are killed and injured each year when they are working on machinery and power is accidentally restored. If proper LO/TO procedures are followed, these injuries could be prevented. It could be you!
LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Is Necessary Every industry relies on energy to power equipment that manufactures goods. Energy comes in many forms. The most common kinds of energy include electrical, chemical, thermal, hydraulic, and mechanical. When machines or equipment need to be serviced or maintained, this energy must be isolated so authorized personnel can safely perform work.
The Goals of LOCKOUT/TAGOUT The goal of LOCKOUT/TAGOUT procedures is to protect workers. Another goal is to prevent energy from accidentally being released while machines and equipment are being maintained and serviced. Unlike small appliances or hand tools, industrial machinery requires more than turning off a switch or unplugging a cord. These machines get their power from multiple energy sources that interact with each other. If all energy sources are not isolated before service or maintenance is performed, an accidental release of energy could occur and result in injury.
LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Procedures LOCKOUT/TAGOUT procedures may only be performed by authorized employees who have received proper training. Authorized employees are trained to recognize the types of hazardous energy sources in the workplace and know how to isolate and control that energy.
LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Procedures The process of LOCKOUT/TAGOUT is most successful when seven simple steps are followed in order: Seven Simple Steps
Step One- Proper planning Step Two- Notification to all personnel Step Three- Shutdown of operating controls Step Four- Isolation of all energy sources Step Five- Lockout/Tagout of isolated devices Step Six- Release of all stored or residual energy Step Seven- Verification of isolation of energy LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Procedures
LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Procedures Step One: Proper Planning Proper planning is key to the success of any LO/TO procedure. Authorized personnel must consult with written procedures or the proper personnel to determine the types and magnitude of energy involved, the hazards of the energy that must be controlled, and how to control the energy.
LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Procedures Proper planning helps authorized personnel answer important questions about the system to be worked on. What equipment is needed besides locks? Are there any hazardous substances that need to be drained? Should protective equipment be worn? Could energy accumulate again while work is being performed? How many locks are needed for the job?
LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Procedures All affected personnel must be notified. If this step of LO/TO is not performed, LO/TO procedures may not be effective. Step Two: Notify All Affected Personnel It is important that affected personnel understand the situation and do not participate in or interfere with the process.
LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Procedures Step three involves turning off the machine at the operating controls. Shutting down the machine at the operating controls does not bring the machine to a “zero energy state.” Operation could still occur if there was any stored energy left in the system, or if the equipment has more than one energy source. Step Three: Shutdown Of Operating Controls
LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Procedures After the shutdown of operating controls is complete, all energy sources must be isolated as close to the source as possible. This means taking steps to make sure energy has no way to reach the machine or equipment. Step Four: Isolation Of All Energy Sources
Many energy isolating devices are used, depending on the type of energy to be isolated. LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Procedures Circuit breakers Disconnect switches Line valves Blocks Blanks or blinds
LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Procedures As each energy source is isolated, a lock must be applied to the energy isolating device by an authorized employee to prevent it from being operated. Step Five: Lockout/Tagout of Isolated Devices
LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Procedures Step Five: Lockout/Tagout of Isolated Devices As each energy source is isolated and locked, a tag must be applied to the energy isolating (lockout) device by an authorized employee. Tags are important because they warn others not to move energy isolating devices from the “off” position. When tags are used, they must include the name of the employee applying the tag.
LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Procedures The Date Names of the Workers Involved Supervisor’s Name Equipment Being Worked On Tags contain important information.
LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Procedures Never interfere with equipment or machinery that is tagged. If you find a tag lying on the floor, contact your supervisor immediately.
LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Procedures After locks have been placed on the main isolating devices, all downstream energy identified in the planning stage must be released so the system reaches a “zero energy state.” Step Six: Release Of All Stored Or Residual Energy
LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Procedures Many methods exist for releasing residual energy. Residual or “leftover” energy, if not released, presents a safety hazard. Step Six: Release Of All Stored Or Residual Energy Energy may be released by opening drains, relieving system pressure, blocking the system from gravity, bleeding lines, leaving vent valves open and/or cycling the system.
LOCKOUT/TAGOUT Procedures The final step before maintenance or servicing can be performed is the verification that all steps have been followed and that all energy has been locked out or dissipated. This final check must be performed to release any stored energy and to make sure you have isolated the correct energy source. Step Seven: Verification Of Isolation Of Energy
Special Situations Special situations may sometimes call for different procedures to be followed than those already mentioned. No matter what the situation, it is important that you respect the potential hazards of the energy you work with.
Special Situations Some Machines May Not Be Locked Out In rare cases, a machine or equipment is not able to be locked out due to its design. Tags must be used in these cases. Never interfere with a piece of equipment or a machine that is tagged.
Special Situations Some repetitive, routine tasks may not require lockout/tagout procedures if the proper safeguards are used. Sometimes tasks, such as unjamming, lubricating, or cleaning, may be done if the operator uses the proper tools and does not bypass the machine guards. Lockout/Tagout Exceptions
Special Situations Lockout/Tagout Exceptions If a machine needs to be energized to test or position it, locks or tags can be temporarily removed from the energy isolating device. The area should be cleared of all tools and materials before locks and tags are removed. After the procedure is completed, all systems must be de-energized and locks and tags reapplied.
Special Situations Lock Box An alternative example to a group lockout situation is the use of a lock box. The lock box is most often used during a shift change and works when all employees put the keys to the locks of the isolating devices in a box. This box is then locked with a departmental lock by the person assigned to oversee the lockout procedure.
Special Situations Contractors Outside contractors may have lockout/tagout procedures that differ from your facility. Before any work is done, both the employer and contractor must coordinate their procedures. A contractor’s procedures must be as safe as those established at the facility.
Special Situations Shift or Personnel Changes A system being worked on must remain locked out during a shift or personnel change. The person leaving the job site should not remove his/her lock until the arriving worker has locked out with their own lock.
Equipment Startup And Operation When maintenance or servicing is complete, steps must be taken to ensure the safety of others before locks and tags are removed. Notify all employees before locks and tags are removed. Clear away all tools and other items from the machine or equipment and reattach guards. Follow procedure to remove locks and tags.
Your Role in Prevention A study by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that 63% of workers injured by the release of hazardous energy were production workers that were NOT authorized to perform LO/TO procedures to maintain and service equipment.
Your Role in Prevention LOCKOUT/TAGOUT SAFETY BEGINS WITH YOU! Know your company’s LO/TO policies and procedures. Follow proper procedures at ALL times. Do not try to bypass locks and never interfere with locks or tags unless you are authorized to do so. Know the machinery and type of energy it uses. Communicate any problems you find to proper authorized personnel, including lost tags. NEVER reenergize a system if you are not authorized to do so.
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