There are several requirements for OSHA’s lockout tagout requirements. This is put in to place to make sure that workers are protected in the case of hazardous energy being released. There are several important things to know as an employer and an employee.
What are the Employer’s Requirements?
The lockout/tagout is a set of practices to make sure everyone remains safe during the release of energy that can occur during maintenance or routine operation. The first thing that happens is the employer makes sure the person who has been previously designated disconnects the equipment that’s causing the issues. Making sure that the steps are taken to prevent any injury to the employees.
What Should Employees Know About it?
If a machine energizes unexpectedly or releases energy that’s been stored, then it can cause severe injury or even death. It’s very important to have protocols in place and to know them backwards and forwards. The lockout/tagout OSHA standard is for all sources of energy that includes thermal, electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, and pneumatic. It does not cover electrical issues that occur from conductors. It also isn’t going to cover maritime, construction, agricultural, and oil drilling. If your hazardous energy source is controlled only by a plug into the electricity, if shutting the system down is not practical, or if there are special circumstances then the standard also won’t apply.
OSHA’s Exact Requirements
The exact requirements of the OSHA lockout/tagout protocol is that employers put procedures into place to power down the equipment, train all their employees on this procedure and teach them how to be safe when carrying them out. They should also review the procedures in place to make sure they are being followed and that they are still following the correct protocol.
If machinery is used that has to be locked out, then they need to make sure they adopt the procedures that will make sure to keep their employees safe. They have to have a plan developed and documented as part of the requirements and that they make sure to communicate these procedures often with the employees. When the procedures are developed they need to be outlined clearly with the scope of the procedure, the rules and techniques employees have to use and specific detailed procedures to isolate and shut down machines. There should also be clear directions for removing or safely placing the equipment causing the problems.
What is the Worker’s Responsibility?
The workers should know what to do before they start to service a machine that poses a danger. They need to be able to both prepare for shutdown and actually shut down the power. They should be able to restrain and release any store energy that could be hazardous. They should make sure everyone is a safe distance away from the machine and that the machine is inspected to make sure everything is running properly. You have to use a lockout procedure whenever the machines are being maintenanced or serviced and all the proper precautions should be taken. The main component of the lockout tagout procedure is the tagout device. This needs to be durable enough to do what it needs to do. It should be standard issue and be the correct size and color. It needs to be legible and easy for everyone to understand. It should have clear instructions that tell an employee not to use and not to operate.
How to Train Employees
When training employees those that are responsible for lockout and tagout must be clearly identified. They need to be trained for the procedures. All employees should be trained in the procedures so they are aware of what’s going on. They should understand what the hazards are and the reasons they are hazardous. Training has to be conducted when job assignments are changing, and when new machinery that could be hazardous is brought in.
If any outside contractors are used, then it is the responsibility of the employer to make sure they know what the procedures are. If a shift is changed during service to a machine all procedures must be followed and everyone involved must be properly trained. All of the procedures should be in place due to an OSHA inspection but also for the safety of the employees on site. Ensuring you have the proper procedures in place will help make sure lives are saved and kept safe when dealing with these types of machines.
There are several tools you can utilize on the OSHA website to make sure you are doing everything correctly. There is a training program with a tutorial that goes over all the issues that can come up and the procedures involved. There is also an interactive software to help everyone understand what needs to be done as well as making sure you’re in compliance.
Final Things to Remember
If you aren’t doing the procedures correctly, then you risk being fined or shut down by OSHA. There will be major production issues if you are shut down and a very strict protocol and many inspections put into place to make sure it is being done correctly from that point on. Make sure you know the OSHA requirements and you will run a safe and compliant business.