Most people know that industrial equipment can be dangerous when it’s being used. That’s why machines are designed with safety equipment and operators wear personal protective equipment when using them but machinery can also present hazards when it’s not in operation. As long as energy sources such as electricity, natural gas, steam, pressurized water, and compressed air are attached to the machine, a hazard exists. Workers who maintain or repair the equipment, or who will be working in close proximity to it, need to be made aware of these hazards and recognize that steps have been taken to protect them.
This week we will review the 6 steps to conduct a proper lockout & tagout so everyone involved, maintenance and operators, understands how to stay safe.
Monday- Step 1
Step 1: Preparation
Preparing is the first step of locking and tagging out equipment for service and maintenance.
During this phase, the authorized employee must analyze and develope a complete understanding of all forms of hazardous energy that might be controlled. In addition, it is important to identify the specific hazards and means for controlling that energy.
Tuesday – Step 2
Step 2: Shut Down
With planning complete, the actual process of powering down and locking out machines begins. At this point, it’s time to shut down the machine or equipment that will be serviced or maintained. Another important part of this step is to inform any employee affected by the shutdown, even if they won’t play a role in the service or maintenance.
Wednesday – Step 3
Step 3: Isolation
The next step of the lockout/tagout procedure is to isolate the machine or equipment from any source of energy. This may mean any number of things, such as turning off power at a breaker or shutting a valve.
Thursday – Step 4
Step 4: Lockout/Tagout
With the machine or equipment isolated from its energy source the next step of lockout/tagout is to actually lock and tag out the machine. During this step, the authorized employee will attach lockout and/or tagout devices to each energy-isolating device. The point is to apply the lockout device on the energy-isolating device in a way so it says in the “safe” position and cannot be moved to the unsafe position except by the person performing the lockout. Tagout refers to applying a tag on the device as well. This tag includes the name of the person who performed the lockout and any additional information.
Friday – Step 5 & 6
Step 5: Stored Energy Check
Even after the energy source has been disconnected and the machine has been locked out, it doesn’t entirely guarantee that there’s no hazardous energy still stored within the machine or that it’s safe to perform maintenance.
At this time, it’s important to look for any hazardous energy that’s been “stored” within the machine, or any “residual” energy. During this phase, any potentially hazardous stored or residual energy must be relieved, disconnected, restrained, or made non-hazardous in some other way.
Step 6: Isolation Verification
This last step is all about making sure. Yes, you’ve shut down the machines, isolated them from their source of power, locked them out, and checked for hazardous stored energy. Lastly double check your work, ensure every step has been followed and the machine will not present a hazard to anyone in the area.
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