Every workplace has to conduct maintenance on its machinery from time to time. And that means that your maintenance team may need to remove the normal safeguards on a machine that would protect them against hazardous energy.
Any workplace that conducts routine maintenance needs a strong energy control program. And yet, lockout/tagout was one of the most common OSHA violations of 2019. If your maintenance team cannot conduct safe work, your machines and your technicians will both be out of commission.
What's in an Energy Control Program?
Within the federal standard for the control of hazardous energy (aka “lockout”) is the requirement to have an energy control program. With as complicated as lockout can be to manage, surprisingly there are only three things that must be included in an energy control program.
To have a compliant program, an employer must do the following:
- Create machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures, including alternate procedures when needed
- Train employees in their energy control program, to include training on the use of machine specific procedures
- Inspect procedures periodically (once per year at a minimum)
While these things sound simple to accomplish, they’re a bit more taxing than you might think.
Purpose of an Energy Control Program
Hazardous energy is any energy produced by electrical, mechanical, chemical, thermal, hydraulic, pneumatic, and other sources that can be hazardous to workers. It is often caused by the unexpected startup of a machine during routine maintenance, causing a sudden release of energy. Lockout/tagout refers to procedures designed to protect employees from hazardous energy, either from unexpected energization or the release of hazardous energy during maintenance activities.
The purpose of an energy control program is preventative. It prevents the unintended release of hazardous energy, unintended startup of machinery, and, of course, prevents employees from coming into contact with hazardous energy while performing work that requires bypassing normal safeguards.
Lockout/Tagout Webinar Recording
This webinar introduces an assessment process that may help make the lockout procedure writing experience a bit easier to manage. We will also offer our best suggestions on how to overcome a few of the more common hurdles associated with this process, provide an example of how Excel can be used to create a robust procedure and suggest a few ideas for how to display your created procedures.
If you’re looking for a way to refine your lockout/tagout procedures or are just starting out with the process of creating them, then this webinar is for you. Access it today to begin improving your processes.