When servicing machines, workers must be wary of hazardous energy. This is simply the electrical, thermal, mechanical, hydraulic or other types of accumulated energy inside machines and equipment.
When working on machines or near them, individuals are vulnerable to serious injury and even death from the release of stored energy. Therefore, maintaining proper lockout/tagout procedures is an indispensable part of workplace safety.
Creating LOTO procedures
To keep maintenance workers safe, employers should implement LOTO procedures. These procedures should not only apply to those who work on machines and equipment, though. Machine operators, line workers, cleaning crews and others can benefit from LOTO protocols.
Protecting maintenance workers
While many components go into LOTO procedures, the absence of voltage testing devices is invaluable. These devices allow maintenance workers to confirm no hazardous energy remains in machines before they begin repairs. Because ensuring AVT devices are in good working order is critical, employers should perform regular testing on them.
Training on electrical safety
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that electrocutions are one of the primary causes of workplace fatalities. In fact, nearly 9% of workplace fatalities in 2018 were due to electrical shock. While LOTO procedures may prevent electrocution from the discharge of hazardous energy, they only work if employees understand them.
Responsible employers should conduct regular and comprehensive training. This training should not only cover LOTO procedures for maintaining and repairing machines, however. To keep workers and others safe, employers must also address all electrical risks employees and others may encounter at work.