When it comes to big machinery, safety has to be your number one priority. There’s too much at risk—workplace injuries, accidents, and environmental hazards—to ignore the federal safety regulations put in place by OSHA. And that includes hazardous energy. Energy sources that include electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, and thermal can be dangerous to workers. It’s up to you to make sure the release of stored energy is secure during servicing and maintenance, so your employees stay safe.
Harmful effects of hazardous energy
If your hazardous energy isn’t properly controlled, serious injuries and even death can result. Your employees could be electrocuted, burned, cut, amputated, or bones could be fractured. Steam valves that are automatically turned on could easily burn a worker who’s repairing a pipe, or a jammed conveyor belt could suddenly become unjammed, injuring the worker trying to repair it. The risk of injury is great, so it’s important to follow proper procedures and keep everyone safe.
Proper lockout/Tagout (LOTO) procedures
Ultimately, proper LOTO procedures are the employers’ responsibility. OSHA gives each employer the flexibility to design an energy control system that meets their company’s needs and their machinery and equipment—whatever it takes to lockout or tagout the device and isolate the energy, all in the name of safety. Ideally, equipment and devices should be able to be locked out, but if not, an effective tagout program should be used.
Train your employees
Compliance with OSHA’s LOTO standard prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Thus, training your employees in such procedures is crucial. Make sure your employees know the provisions of the hazardous energy control procedures. They should understand the scope of the whole program and the procedure as it relates to their duties. As you implement and practice the procedures, enforce them. Show your employees that you take them seriously, reward them for following the proper procedures, and penalize them when they don’t. They need to understand just how serious these steps are and what’s at stake.
Authorize your employees
Certain employees should be authorized to lockout and tagout machines as well as perform necessary service and maintenance operations on them. They need to be on the lookout for hazardous situations and all means of isolating and controlling the energy. That training should be kept up to date as new equipment is introduced or new OSHA standards are enacted. All energy control procedures should be inspected at least annually. Any time you have outside contractors working onsite or there are other personnel changes, those new workers need to be trained in such safety procedures as soon as possible.
Looking to Find Employees Who Follow Safety Procedures?
Workplace injuries and even deaths are one problem you just can’t have. Morale and trust will plummet, employees will be unable to perform their duties effectively, and your reputation as an employer will suffer. For more tips on encouraging the safest habits with your employees, check out our website at http://www.icrjobs.com.