To control hazardous energy, you must prevent its transmission from the source to the equipment that it powers. You can accomplish this by using the following steps:
To safely apply energy controls to machines or equipment (using either lockout or tagout devices), authorized workers must perform lockout/tagout procedures in a specific order.
The first step in controlling energy is to identify equipment in your workplace that needs service or maintenance. Once the equipment or machinery has been identified:
Before an authorized or affected employee turns off a machine or equipment, the authorized employee must have knowledge of:
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.
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:
Control circuit devices such as start/stop push buttons, e-stops, selector switches, presence sensing devices, or limiting switches do not physically isolate equipment from the equipment's energy source. For this reason, OSHA 1910.147 explicitly rejects control circuitry in the definition of an energy-isolating device.
However, under the "minor servicing" exception provided in 1910.147(a) (2)(ii), circuitry meeting the control reliability requirements of ANSI B11, Machinery Safety Standards, provides the alternative safeguarding measures required under the exception.
Locking out. 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.
Tagging out. 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.
Bottom line: If you can lock it out, do not use tags.
You have three choices when isolating energy sources:
You must demonstrate the protection achieved using the tagout program is equivalent to the level of safety obtained by using a lockout program.
So, how do you do it? You must comply with all tagout-related provisions and use additional safety measures that provide a level of safety equivalent to that obtained by using lockout.
Each authorized employee must place his or her personal lock on each energy-isolating device before beginning service work. Service work involving many workers and many energy-isolating devices can make traditional lockout complicated.
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. To do that, the authorized employee will attempt to turn the equipment or machinery on by cycling the energy isolation devices.
Attempting to restart the equipment is one way to confirm isolation; however, the authorized person should also test, as necessary, all components ensure they have been properly discharged, hazardous heat has dissipated, and excessive pressures have been relieved (zero-energy states).
Best Practice: Some companies refer to their energy control program as "Lock, Tag, Try" or "Lock, Tag, Test" to emphasize this important verification step.
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