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The importance of limiting hazardous energy

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The importance of limiting hazardous energy

What is hazardous energy? Electrical, mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic, chemical, thermal or other sources of energy in various types of machinery and equipment can put workers at risk. Workers who maintain or service machinery or equipment can be injured if hazardous energy is not properly controlled during repairs.

Injuries resulting from failure to control hazardous energy during maintenance activities can be serious or, in the worst case, fatal. Some of the most common injuries that occur include, but are not limited to; electrocution, bruising, cuts, lacerations, broken bones, burns, and amputations. The employer is responsible for preventing such accidents!

If, for example, the internal wiring of a factory-made appliance causes an electrical short circuit, it can shock the worker repairing the appliance.
If a steam valve automatically turns back on, it can injure workers who are repairing a connection in the pipeline.
If a jammed conveyor belt system suddenly breaks free, it can crush a worker who is trying to clear the jam.
Electricians, machine operators and maintenance workers are among the millions of workers worldwide who are most at risk of injury. But what can be done to prevent such accidents?

Appropriate LOTO (lockout/tagout) devices and procedures protect workers from injuries caused by hazardous energy. LOTO helps manage and control hazardous energy during servicing and maintenance of machinery and equipment. In addition to the selection of appropriate equipment, it is the employer's responsibility to ensure that employees working in the company know, understand and are able to comply with the relevant provisions of the hazardous energy control procedures to ensure the health of themselves and their colleagues.

Employees should have knowledge of the purpose and operation of the energy control program and the knowledge and skills necessary to safely apply, use and remove energy control devices. All employees working in areas where energy control procedure(s) are used shall be trained in the purpose and application of the energy control procedure(s), in particular the prohibition against attempting to restart or re-energise locked or de-energised machinery or other equipment. All workers who are authorized to lock out machinery or equipment and to carry out service and maintenance operations must be trained in the identification of hazardous energy sources applicable to the workplace, the type and amount of energy present in the workplace, and the means and methods of isolating and/or controlling energy. Despite high turnover, it is important to maintain the proficiency of all workers so that LOTO equipment can be used safely and the chances of such accidents occurring are reduced to zero in the long term.

If you are unsure, ask our staff for help in choosing the right LOTO (lockout/tagout) devices.