To control hazardous energy, you have to prevent it from being transmitted from its source to the equipment that it powers. You can accomplish this by doing the following:
To safely apply energy controls to machines or equipment (using either lockout or tagout devices), authorized workers must perform certain procedures, in a specific order.
The first step in controlling energy is to identify equipment in your workplace that needs service or maintenance. Determine the form of energy that powers the equipment, including potential energy that may remain when the energy source is disconnected. Label the energy sources so that workers will know what equipment is powered by each energy source.
Before an authorized or affected employee turns off a machine or equipment, the authorized employee must have knowledge of the type and magnitude of the energy, the hazards of the energy to be controlled, and the method or means to control the energy.
The machine or equipment must be turned off or shut down using the procedures established for it to avoid any additional or increased hazards to workers as a result of the unexpected machine or equipment startup or stoppage.
Machine or equipment isolation: All energy-isolating devices that are needed to control the machine's energy source must be located. These devices must then be used to isolate the machine or equipment from its energy source(s).
De-energizing equipment means isolating it from its energy source and controlling potential energy so that no energy can flow to the equipment. The method you use to de-energize equipment depends on the form of energy and the means available to control it.
Below is a list of safe practices for de-energizing equipment.
Stored energy must be released after equipment has been de-energized. Below is a list of possible sources of stored energy.
If the energy could return to a hazardous level, make sure that it remains isolated from the equipment until all service work is finished. Below is a list of safe practices for dissipating potential energy.
Energy-isolating devices prevent energy from being transmitted from an energy source to equipment. Energy-isolating devices are the primary means for protecting those who service equipment. Examples of energy-isolation devices include:
An energy-isolating device is effective only when no one can accidentally restart the equipment. Locking out is a procedure for securing an energy-isolating device in an off, closed, or neutral position. When an energy-isolating device is locked out, a worker can safely service hazardous equipment. A lockout device - typically a lock with a unique key or combination - secures the energy-isolating device in a safe position. When an energy-isolating device is locked out, the equipment it controls will not work until the lockout device is removed.
Similarly, tagging out is a procedure for placing a warning tag or sign - a tagout device - on an energy-isolating device. Remember, tagout devices must control hazardous energy at least as effectively as lockout devices. Since tagout devices do not provide the same physical barrier to hazardous energy as lockout devices, it is harder to ensure (or prove to OSHA) that tagout devices are as effective as lockout devices.
Bottom line: If you can lock it out, do not use tags.
If you can lock out an energy-isolating device, then you must lock it out before you service the equipment that it controls. If you can't lock out an energy-isolating device, then you must tag it out. Remember that you must ensure that the hazardous energy is controlled just as effectively with the tagout device as it would be with a lockout device.
After the energy-isolating device has been locked out or tagged out, all potentially hazardous stored or residual energy must be relieved, disconnected, restrained, and otherwise rendered safe.
Before any work begins on machines or equipment that have been locked out or tagged out, an authorized employee must verify that the machine or equipment has been properly isolated and de-energized.
Watch this informative video produced by Brady on the application of various lockout/tagout devices.
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