Lockout/Tagout is a way of protecting employees while machinery is serviced. The person who will be working on the equipment disconnects it, locks the power source, and puts a warning tag on it. This prevents the equipment from starting up or releasing energy and accidentally injuring someone.
Dozens of construction workers are killed every year because they did not turn off equipment or lock it out before working on it. Most were electrocuted, but some were crushed or lost limbs.
Do you know anyone who has been injured by equipment not being locked out?
Luke was cleaning the unguarded side of an operating band saw. The equipment had not been shut down. He was suddenly caught in the moving parts of the saw and pulled into a nip point between the blade and the idler wheel, resulting in fatal injuries.
How could this have been avoided?
Remember before performing maintenance on equipment or machinery, always identify the sources of energy that need to be locked out and tagged out: electrical, mechanical, gravitational, thermal, hydraulic, pneumatic, and chemical.
- Always properly shut down equipment and machines:
- Block or drain any stored energy
- Be aware that equipment marked “high voltage” can store lethal energy, even when disconnected from the power source
- Always test or look to make sure that the energy source is shut down
- Apply a lock to the energy source so power cannot restart it
- Tell your co-workers about the shutdown
- Put a tag on the locked-out item, warning that it should not be turned on
- Test to ensure the item is properly locked out
- After completing the work, tell your co-workers that the locks are about to be removed and the equipment restarted
- As a final step, remove the tag and restart the equipment
Let’s be safe out there!