An 18-year-old worker died after becoming entangled in a portable mortar mixer at a residential construction site. The victim was cleaning the mixer at the end of his shift to prepare it for the following day. A painter working near the victim heard yells for help and saw the victim's arm stuck in the machine and his body being pulled into the rotating mixer paddles. Emergency medical services were called and responded within minutes. Rescue workers dismantled the drive mechanism to reverse the mixing paddles and extricate the worker. He was pronounced dead at the scene. (Source: OSHA)
The purpose of the Energy Control Program (ECP) is to provide written policies and rules within your safety management system that help prevent accidents like this. No worker should die or be injured due to the unexpected startup of machines and equipment, or release of stored energy.
Information about the Energy Control Program (ECP) is contained in 29 CFR 1910.147, Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout). The regulation addresses the practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment, thereby preventing the release of hazardous energy while employees perform servicing and maintenance activities. It also details measures for controlling hazardous energies - electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, and other energy sources.
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Employers must establish an Energy Control Program (ECP) to ensure that before service and maintenance is performed, machines and equipment that could unexpectedly startup, become energized, or release stored energy, are isolated from their energy source(s) and rendered safe.
To do that, employers need to accomplish three critical activities to ensure employee safety when they are servicing or working near equipment that could expose them to hazardous energy:
Lockout/tagout" (LOTO) refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.
The standard requires, in part, that a designated individual turns off and disconnects the machinery or equipment from its energy source(s) before performing service or maintenance. It also requires that an authorized employee(s) either lock or tag the energy-isolating device(s) to prevent the release of hazardous energy and take steps to verify that the energy has been isolated effectively.
If the potential exists for the release of hazardous stored energy or for the reaccumulation of stored energy to a hazardous level, the employer must ensure that the employee(s) take steps to prevent injury that may result from the release of the stored energy.
Lockout devices, typically locks, hold energy-isolation devices in a safe, off, or neutral position.
They provide protection by preventing machines or equipment from becoming energized because they are positive restraints that no one can remove without a key or other unlocking mechanism, or through extraordinary means, such as bolt cutters.
Tagout devices, by contrast, are prominent warning devices that an authorized employee fastens to energy-isolating devices to warn employees not to re-energize the machine while he or she services or maintains it.
Tagout devices are easier to remove and, by themselves, provide employees with less protection than do lockout devices.
Whenever your employees perform servicing and/or maintenance on machines or equipment, they can be exposed to the unexpected energization, startup, or release of hazardous energy. Hazardous energy sources include electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other forms of harmful energy.
Servicing or maintenance refers to constructing, installing, setting up, adjusting, inspecting, modifying, maintaining and/or servicing machines or equipment, including lubrication, cleaning or unjamming of machines or equipment, and making adjustments or tool changes, where workers could be exposed to the unexpected energization or startup of the equipment or release of hazardous energy.
Passive monitoring during normal production operations is not considered servicing or maintenance.
The term "unexpected" also covers situations in which the servicing and/or maintenance is performed during ongoing normal production operations if:
Energy in any form becomes hazardous when it builds to a dangerous level or is released in a quantity that could injure a worker. Workers servicing or maintaining machines or equipment may be seriously injured or killed if hazardous energy is not properly controlled. Injuries resulting from the failure to control hazardous energy during maintenance activities can be serious or fatal! Injuries may include electrocution, burns, crushing, cutting, lacerating, amputating, or fracturing body parts, and others.
Energy is the power for doing work. Energy exists in different types, but all are associated with motion. Regardless of the type, energy exists in two basic states:
Reference the infographic at the right: Releasing the load causes it to drop, converting potential energy to kinetic energy. It's the harmful transfer of energy at impact between an object and the worker that can cause injury. Note: it's the "harmful transfer of energy" that is always the direct cause of injury in an accident event.
It's important to understand that while exposure to electricity is the most common hazard requiring lockout/tagout, electricity is not the only form of hazardous energy employees may encounter. Secondary energy sources such as pneumatic or mechanical energy may still be stored with the potential to cause injury.
One or more of the following types of energy may require deenergization to completely isolate the equipment.
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This Pipeline Safety video is a great tailgate safety meeting discussion starter.