Workers performing service or maintenance on machinery and equipment are exposed to injuries from the unexpected energization, startup of the machinery or equipment, or release of stored energy in the equipment.
OSHA's Lockout/Tagout (Control of Hazardous Energy) standard, which went into effect in January 1990, helps safeguard employees from the unexpected startup of machines or equipment or release of hazardous energy while they are performing servicing or maintenance. It identifies the practices and procedures necessary to shut down and lock out or tag out machines and equipment, requires that employees receive training in their role in the lockout/tagout program, and mandates that periodic inspections be conducted to maintain or enhance the energy control program.
This rule requires that, in general, before service or maintenance is performed on machines or equipment, the machines or equipment must be turned off and disconnected from the energy source, and the energy-isolating device must be either locked or tagged out.
Lockout is a more reliable means of deenergizing equipment than tagout and it should always be the preferred method used by employees. Except for limited situations, the use of lockout devices will provide a more secure and more effective means of protecting employees from the unexpected release of hazardous energy or startup of machines and equipment.
The Lockout/Tagout standard applies to general industry employment and covers the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment in which the unexpected startup or the release of stored energy could cause injury to employees. Hazardous energy releases may occur during the installation, set up, adjusting, modifying, maintenance, servicing, or repairing of machines, equipment, processes, or systems.
It applies to any source of mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other energy, but does not cover electrical hazards. Subpart S of 29 CFR Part 1910 covers electrical hazards, and 29 CFR Part 1910.333 contains specific lockout/tagout provisions for electrical hazards.
Servicing and maintenance of equipment performed during normal production operations are not covered if:
§ The safeguarding provisions of OSHA's Machine Guarding and other applicable general industry standards are effective in preventing worker exposure to hazards created by the unexpected energization or startup of machines or equipment, or the release of energy.
§ Minor tool changes and adjustments, and other minor servicing activities that take place during normal production operations which are routine, repetitive, and integral to the use of that production equipment, as long as workers are effectively protected by alternative measures which provide effective machine safeguarding protection.
§ Construction, agriculture, and maritime workers.
§ Installations under the exclusive control of electric utilities for power generation, transmission, and distribution.
§ Exposure to electrical hazards from work on, near, or with conductors or equipment in electric utilization installations.
§ Oil and gas well drilling and servicing.
§ Work on cord and plug connected electrical equipment — if the equipment is unplugged from the energy source and the authorized employee has exclusive control of the plug.
§ Hot tap operations that involve transmission and distribution systems for gas, steam, water, or petroleum products on pressurized pipelines — if continuity of service is essential, shutdown of the system is impractical, documented procedures are followed, and employees are effectively protected by special equipment.
An overview of OSHA topics, including lockout/tagout for controlling hazardous energy sources; safety when working near electrical hazards; how to keep employees who work in temperature extremes safe and healthy; air contaminants and acceptable exposure limits; safe asbestos handling; job hazard analysis; controlling occupational noise exposures; and combustible dust.
This manual deals with OSHA's efforts to establish and protect employee health and safety in the workplace, and the compliance required of you, the employer, in the areas of labeling, training, personal protective equipment, etc. However, there are other topics and dangerous conditions in the workplace that deserve special mention. That is what you will find in this chapter, as well as a systematic method to analyze jobs for those hazards.
Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout)
The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout) is vital to safe work practices when machines and equipment are being serviced or cleaned. Following specific procedures to lock out or block out the energy source prior to machine or equipment maintenance is required for the safey of all workers involved in the process.
Unsafe work practices appear to be a factor in about three-fourths of electrocutions in the workplace. You will find information on the hazards of electrical work as well as preventive measures to implement.
What you can do to keep your employees safe and healthy when they are exposed to hot and cold temperature extremes is covered in this section.
An explanation about air contaminants and how to control them in the workplace.
The long-term mishandling of asbestos has left a grim legacy of disabling and fatal diseases. This part of the chapter describes the steps an employer must take to reduce occupational exposure to asbestos.
Job hazard analysis
Job hazard analysis provides a systematic procedure of breaking down a job into specific tasks, identifying the hazards associated with those tasks, and implementing controls to reduce or eliminate those hazards.
Occupational noise exposure
Noise, or unwanted sound, is a common hazard in the work environment. When employees are exposed to excessive noise, the employer must establish a hearing conservation program to ensure that employees' hearing is protected. This section of Workplace Hazards will help you understand noise exposures to better protect your employees and comply with OSHA's requirements.
Combustible dusts are fine particles that present an explosion hazard when suspended in air in certain conditions. A dust explosion can be catastrophic and cause employee deaths, injuries, and destruction of entire buildings. In many combustible dust accidents, employers and employees were unaware that a hazard even existed. It is important to determine if your company has this hazard, and, if so, ensure appropriate action be taken to prevent tragic consequences.
Before a rescue team can be trained or chosen, however, a satisfactory permit program, including an analysis of all permit-required confined spaces to identify all potential hazards in those spaces, must be completed. OSHA believes that compliance with all the provisions of §1910.146 will enable employers to conduct permit space operations without recourse to rescue services in nearly all cases.
Experience indicates that circumstances will arise where entrants will need to be rescued from permit spaces. It is therefore important for employers to select rescue services or teams, either onsite or offsite, that are equipped and capable of minimizing harm to both entrants and rescuers if the need arises.
For all rescue teams or services, the evaluation should consist of two components:
§ Initial evaluation: Employer decides whether a potential rescue service or team is adequately trained and equipped to perform permit space rescues of the kind needed at the facility and whether such rescuers can respond in a timely manner; and
§ Performance evaluation: Employer measures the performance of the team or service during an actual or practice rescue.
Example: Based on the initial evaluation, an employer may determine that maintaining an onsite rescue team will be more expensive than obtaining the services of an offsite team, without being significantly more effective, and decide to hire a rescue service. During a performance evaluation, the employer could decide, after observing the rescue service perform a practice rescue, that the service’s training or preparedness was not adequate to effect a timely or effective rescue at his or her facility and decide to select another rescue service, or to form an internal rescue team.
The employer should meet with the prospective rescue service to facilitate the evaluations required by §1910.146(k)(1)(i and ii). At a minimum, if an offsite rescue service is being considered, you must contact the service to plan and coordinate the evaluations required by the standard. Merely posting the service’s number or planning to rely on the 911 emergency phone number to obtain these services at the time of a permit space emergency would not comply with paragraph (k)(1) of the standard.
The capabilities required of a rescue service vary with the type of permit spaces from which rescue may be necessary and the hazards likely to be encountered in those spaces. Answering the following questions will assist you in determining whether the rescue service is capable of performing rescues in the permit spaces present at your workplace.
1. What are your needs with regard to response time (time for the rescue service to receive notification, arrive at the scene, and set up and be ready for entry)?
Example: If entry is to be made into an IDLH atmosphere, or into a space that can quickly develop an IDLH atmosphere (if ventilation fails or for other reasons), the rescue team or service would need to be standing by at the permit space.
On the other hand, if the danger to entrants is restricted to mechanical hazards that would cause injuries (e.g., broken bones, abrasions) a response time of 10 or 15 minutes might be adequate.
2. How quickly can the rescue team or service get from its location to the permit spaces from which rescue may be necessary?
§ Relevant factors to consider would include:
§ Location of the rescue team or service relative to your workplace,
§ Quality of roads and highways to be traveled,
§ Potential bottlenecks or traffic congestion that might be encountered in transit,
§ Reliability of the rescuer’s vehicles, and
§ Training and skill of its drivers.
3. What is the availability of the rescue service?
§ Is it unavailable at certain times of the day or in certain situations?
§ What is the likelihood that key personnel of the rescue service might be unavailable at times?
§ If the rescue service becomes unavailable while an entry is underway, does it have the capability of notifying you so that you can instruct the attendant to abort the entry immediately?
4. Does the rescue service meet all the requirements of paragraph (k)(2) of the standard?
§ If not, has it developed a plan that will enable it to meet those requirements in the future?
§ If so, how soon can the plan be implemented?
5. For offsite services, is the service willing to perform rescues at your workplace? (An employer may not rely on a rescuer who declines, for whatever reason, to provide rescue services.)
6. Is an adequate method for communications between the attendant, employer, and prospective rescuer available so that a rescue request can be transmitted to the rescuer without delay?
7. How soon after notification can a prospective rescuer dispatch a rescue team to the entry site?
8. For rescues into spaces that may pose significant atmospheric hazards and from which rescue entry, patient packaging and retrieval cannot be safely accomplished in a relatively short time (15-20 minutes), employers should consider using airline respirators (with escape bottles) for the rescuers and to supply rescue air to the patient.
If the employer decides to use SCBA, does the prospective rescue service have an ample supply of replacement cylinders and procedures for rescuers to enter and exit (or be retrieved) well within the SCBA’s air supply limits?
9. If the space has a vertical entry over five feet in depth, can the prospective rescue service properly perform entry rescues?
10. Does the service have the technical knowledge and equipment to perform rope work or elevated rescue, if needed?
11. Does the rescue service have the necessary skills in medical evaluation, patient packaging, and emergency response?
12. Does the rescue service have the necessary equipment to perform rescues, or must the equipment be provided by the employer or another source?
Rescue services are required to practice rescues at least once every 12 months, provided that the team or service has not successfully performed a permit space rescue within that time. As part of each practice session, the service should perform a critique of the practice rescue, or have another qualified party perform the critique, so that deficiencies in procedures, equipment, training, or number of personnel can be identified and corrected.
You should receive the results of the critique, and the corrections made to respond to the deficiencies identified, so that you can determine whether the rescue service can quickly be upgraded to meet the rescue needs or whether another service must be selected. The following questions will assist both employers and rescue teams or services in evaluating their performance.
1. Have all members of the service been trained as permit space entrants, at a minimum, including training in the potential hazards of all permit spaces, or of representative permit spaces, from which rescue may be needed?
2. Can team members recognize the signs, symptoms, and consequences of exposure to any hazardous atmospheres that may be present in those permit spaces?
3. Is every team member provided with, and properly trained in, the use and need for PPE, such as SCBA or fall arrest equipment, which may be required to perform permit space rescues in the facility?
4. Is every team member properly trained to perform his or her functions and make rescues, and to use any rescue equipment, such as ropes and backboards, that may be needed in a rescue attempt?
5. Are team members trained in the first aid and medical skills needed to treat victims overcome or injured by the types of hazards that may be encountered in the permit spaces at the facility?
6. Do all team members perform their functions safely and efficiently?
7. Do rescue service personnel focus on their own safety before considering the safety of the victim?
8. If necessary, can the rescue service properly test the atmosphere to determine if it is IDLH?
9. Can the rescue personnel identify information pertinent to the rescue from entry permits, hot work permits, and MSDSs?
10. Has the rescue service been informed of any hazards to personnel that may arise from outside the space, such as those that may be caused by future work near the space?
11. If necessary, can the rescue service properly package and retrieve victims from a permit space that has a limited size opening (less than 24 inches (60.9 cm) in diameter), limited internal space, or internal obstacles or hazards?
12. If necessary, can the rescue service safely perform an elevated (high angle) rescue?
13. Does the rescue service have a plan for each of the kinds of permit space rescue operations at the facility?
14. Is the plan adequate for all types of rescue operations that may be needed at the facility? Teams may practice in representative spaces, or in spaces that are “worst-case” or most restrictive with respect to internal configuration, elevation, and portal size. The following characteristics of a practice space should be considered when deciding whether a space is truly representative of an actual permit space:
§ Open: There are no obstacles, barriers, or obstructions within the space. One example is a water tank.
§ Obstructed: The permit space contains some type of obstruction that a rescuer would need to maneuver around. An example would be a baffle or mixing blade. Large equipment, such as a ladder or scaffold, brought into a space for work purposes would be considered an obstruction if the positioning or size of the equipment would make rescue more difficult.
§ Elevated: A permit space where the entrance portal or opening is above grade by four feet or more. This type of space usually requires knowledge of high angle rescue procedures because of the difficulty in packaging and transporting a patient to the ground from the portal.
§ Non-elevated: A permit space with the entrance portal located less than four feet above grade. This type of space will allow the rescue team to transport an injured employee normally.
3. Portal size
§ Restricted: A portal of 24 inches or less in the least dimension. Portals of this size are too small to allow a rescuer to simply enter the space while using SCBA. The portal size is also too small to allow normal spinal immobilization of an injured employee.
§ Unrestricted: A portal of greater than 24 inches in the least dimension. These portals allow relatively free movement into and out of the permit space.
4. Space access
§ Horizontal: The portal is located on the side of the permit space. Use of retrieval lines could be difficult.
§ Vertical: The portal is located on the top of the permit space, so that rescuers must climb down, or the bottom of the permit space, so that rescuers must climb up to enter the space. Vertical portals may require knowledge of rope techniques, or special patient packaging to safely retrieve a downed entrant.
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