The Lockout/Tagout standard requires employers to establish procedures for isolating machines or equipment from their source of energy and affixing appropriate locks or tags to energy-isolating devices to prevent any unexpected energization, startup, or release of stored energy that could injure workers. When tags are used on energy-isolating devices not capable of being locked out, provide additional means to assure a level of protection equivalent to that of locks. The standard also requires employee training and periodic inspections of the procedures to maintain or improve their effectiveness.
If you are covered by the LO/TO standard, you must establish a program to ensure that machines and equipment are isolated and inoperative before any employee performs servicing or maintenance when the unexpected energization, start up, or release of stored energy could occur and cause injury.
The purpose of the energy control program is to ensure that, whenever the possibility of unexpected machine or equipment startup or energization exists or when the unexpected release of stored energy could occur and cause injury during servicing and maintenance, the equipment is isolated from its energy source(s) and rendered inoperative prior to servicing or maintenance.
The LO/TO standard allows you the flexibility to develop programs and procedures that meet the needs of your particular workplace and the particular types of machines and equipment being maintained or serviced. Your energy control program must include:
§ Documented energy control procedures,
§ An employee training program, and
§ Periodic inspections of the use of the procedures.
Energy control procedures must be developed, documented, and used to control potentially hazardous energy whenever workers perform activities covered by the standard.
The written procedures have to identify the information that the authorized employees must know to control hazardous energy during servicing or maintenance. If this information is the same for various machines or equipment or if other means of logical grouping exists, then a single energy control procedure may be sufficient. If there are other conditions, such as multiple energy sources, different connecting means, or a particular sequence that must be followed to shut down the machine or equipment, then you must develop separate energy control procedures to protect employees.
The energy control procedures need to outline the scope, purpose, authorization, rules, and techniques that will be used to control hazardous energy sources as well as the means that will be used to enforce compliance. At a minimum, they should include the following elements:
§ The procedural steps needed to shut down, isolate, block, and secure machines or equipment;
§ The steps designating the safe placement, removal, and transfer of lockout/tagout devices and who has the responsibility for them;
§ The specific requirements for testing machines or equipment to determine and verify the effectiveness of locks, tags, and other energy control measures; and
§ The employer or an authorized employee must notify affected employees before lockout or tagout devices are applied and after they are removed from the machine or equipment.
The procedures must include the following steps:
1. Preparing for shutdown,
2. Shutting down the machine or equipment,
3. Isolating the machine or equipment from the energy source(s),
4. Applying the lockout or tagout device(s) to the energy-isolating device(s),
5. Safely releasing all potentially hazardous stored or residual energy, and
6. Verifying the isolation of the machine or equipment prior to the start of servicing or maintenance work.
In addition, before lockout or tagout devices are removed and energy is restored to the machines or equipment, steps need to be taken to reenergize equipment after servicing is completed, including ensuring that machines or equipment components are operationally intact; all employees are safely positioned or removed from equipment; and that lockout or tagout devices are removed from each energy-isolating device by the employee who applied the device.
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