Lockout tagout procedures refer to precautionary measures that were designed to protect workers from accidents and create safer American workplaces. Enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), these regulations are used on energized equipment that may lead to safety hazards. It usually involves the need to physically lock the power sources of devices to prevent them from being accidentally activated. If ever there was an important component of an electrical safety program it would be the proper implementation of a lockout tagout protocol.
Importance of Lockout Tagout Programs
Why is it important to control hazardous sources of energy? Employees who are maintaining or using machines are constantly exposed to death or serious physical harm if hazardous sources of energy are not properly controlled. Companies that comply with tagout or lockout safety standards can prevent the injuries and fatalities that can make workers lose as much as 24 days of work for their recuperation period.
Not only electricity can turn into a hazardous energy source. Lockout tagout procedures can also protect workers from other energy sources such as pneumatic, chemical, hydraulic, and mechanical energy. All of them possess the potential to start up unexpectedly so they should be identified, released, or locked before maintenance or servicing is performed. OSHA addresses this need by outlining the various procedures that are necessary to disabling machinery and preventing the discharge of hazardous energy in the workplace.
OSHA regulations also include the different safety requirements that can protect employees who are usually working on electric equipment and circuits. They require every worker to comply with safe working practices related to tagging and lockout procedures. All of these regulations play a huge role in protecting workers every time they are near conductors and other systems that make use of electrical energy.
Lockout Tagout Procedures – The Basics
Lockout tagout procedures refer to the process of applying locks to devices and removing them for future use. Before shutting down machines, workers need to have basic knowledge about the type and quantity of energy used by the machine. They also need to know what safety hazards can result from the unexpected release of energy from it. Responsible employers teach workers how that can identify the lockout devices that were designated to machines and fill out the tags by clearly mentioning important information.
Workers also need to place the tags on the operating controls of the machine before officially locking them. Workers need to turn off the electrical machines main switch and hand over its keys to the person in charge of its maintenance. Proper tags must contain important information such as the name of the person who has locked the machine, his supervisor, and a cautionary note that restricts unauthorized people from using the machine.
When handling pipes and movable machinery, workers are also in need of definite lockout tagout procedures. Some pipes may cause harm when they are left open so workers need to lock them to prevent the leakage of destructive chemicals or gas. Proper tags are also necessary to communicate the essential details to future users. On the other hand, workers who are using movable machines are also in need of lockout tagout procedures. After turning off their main switches, workers also need to attach the essential information to their locks.
Lockout tagout procedures are also available for computer server rooms. Since these areas usually have very low temperature levels, authorized personnel are in charge of handling electronic systems within the vicinity. When they need to be shut down for system failures or maintenance issues, proper lockout and tagout labels must also be attached to its entrance in order to warn employees.
Before activating machines or systems, workers are also advised to remove all the lockout tags that they have added to their devices. It is also important to indicate the machines activation status or alert messages that will prevent other workers from using it. These lockout tagout procedures will ensure the well-being of workers and make sure that only authorized employees can remove the locks and tags from potentially hazardous machines.
Written programs For Lockout Tagout Procedures
Lockout tagout procedures can establish the responsibility of employers in protecting workers from the hazardous energy sources that may come from various machines. They give employers the flexibility they need for developing energy control programs that are suitable for the needs of different workplaces and the types of equipment present in such areas. When appropriate tagout or lockout devices are applied to energy-isolating machines, employers can decrease the chances of experiencing fatalities under their supervision.
Before workers can comply with lockout tagout procedures, companies need to prepare written lockout tagout programs that will discuss the purpose and scope of its regulations. It also includes the techniques and rules used for controlling hazardous energy sources in the workplace. Employers also need to provide training to those who need to comply with the lockout tagout procedures that their company plans to implement.
Every employee who needs to comply with special lockout tagout procedures need to undergo special training. During their training, they need to understand how they can recognize lockout or tagout devices as well as the importance of not removing them unless they are authorized to do so. The safe use, removal, and application of energy controls are also necessary to a safer working environment. Finally, workers also need to understand the limitations of lockout tagout procedures before they start handling different machines in the workplace.
Equipment For Lockout Tagout Procedures
Companies can only implement these safety regulations when they have gathered the necessary equipment and devices. Locks and tags are the most important devices used for lockout tagout procedures and both of them are responsible for indicating the identity of the worker who used the device. Energy-isolating devices are also necessary to prevent the release or transmission of hazardous energy all throughout the workplace.
To pass the requirements of OSHA, every company needs to make sure that all of the machines in their possession can flawlessly accept lockout devices when renovations, repairs, and medications of machinery are necessary. Employers also need to audit machines on a regular basis in order to identify potential safety hazards and recognize the appropriate lockout tagout procedures that they need.
Every company needs to comply with lockout tagout procedures in order to ensure that devices and machines are temporarily off during service or maintenance. Without these safety regulations, employers can prevent inadvertent operations from causing personal injuries to workers or damages to their machinery. Lockout tagout procedures can do wonders in preventing unnecessary accidents and nurturing safer working environments for the industrial world.