OSHA's Lockout/Tagout standard includes requirements for releasing machines or equipment that have been locked out or tagged out prior to restoring energy to the equipment and using it.
Before lockout or tagout devices are removed and energy is restored, there are some procedures the authorized employee must follow:
If the authorized employee who affixed lockout/tagout devices is not present, you can authorize another employee to remove the device if that employee is properly trained and follows a documented energy control procedure. The procedure must ensure that the authorized is not available to remove the device, that someone has tried to contact and inform the authorized employee that another employee has removed the device, and that the authorized employee knows the device has been removed before returning to work. To ensure safe startup, the equipment should also be inspected and affected employees notified.
Here's what must be done if a worker who didn't apply the lockout/tagout device actually removes the device. The person in charge must accomplish three actions listed below:
Best Practice: Some companies have developed a "Lock Removal Form" and require it to be completed before a lock is removed by another authorized employee. This form identifies the lock owner and equipment, how the owner was contacted, the reason it was left on, confirmation the job was complete, why the lock is being removed, and actions taken to ensure safe startup. The form is signed by a supervisor and kept on file for annual review.
In some circumstances, workers need to temporarily restore energy to a machine or piece of equipment during servicing or maintenance to test and /or reposition the machine or piece of equipment.
Written energy control procedures will address the temporary removal of lockout or tagout devices. Temporary removal is allowed when re-energizing equipment is necessary, for example, when power is needed to test or position the equipment. This applies only for the limited time required to perform the task and the procedure must be documented.
Although lockout/tagout devices may be removed temporarily to perform testing, it is important to know that you may not use an abbreviated procedure during the release - test - restore sequence. You must use full lockout/tagout procedures anytime you release from lockout/tagout or restore equipment after testing and positioning.
Below is the sequence of action that must occur in the temporary removal of the lockout/tagout devices:
You should have an additional energy-control procedure to protect workers if they must restart equipment after long-term shutdowns. Make sure you do the following:
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