Electrician must know what is Lockout/Tag out

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“Control of Hazardous Energy”
Lockout/Tag out – is defined in the Canadian standard CSA Z460-05 (R2010)        

Lockout and Other Methods” as the “placement of a Lockout and or Tagout device on an Energy Isolating device.

– in accordance with an established procedures.
– Ensures equipment – cannot be operated until lockout device is removed.

Lockout is the isolation of energy from the system.
– (a machine, equipment, or process) which physically locks the system in a safe mode. The energy-isolating device can be a manually operated disconnect switch, a circuit breaker, a line valve, or a block.

The locking device (or lockout device) can be any device that has the ability to secure the energy isolating device in a safe position.

Tag out is a labelling process that is always used when lockout is required. The process of tagging out a system involves attaching or using an indicator (usually a standardized label) that includes the following information:

– Why the lockout/tag out is required (repair, maintenance, etc.).
– Time of application of the lock/tag.
– The name of the authorized person who attached the tag and lock to the system. 

Note: ONLY the authorized individual who placed the lock and tag onto the system is the one who is permitted to remove them.  This procedure helps make sure the system cannot be started up without the authorized individual’s knowledge.

(Note: push buttons, selection switches and other circuit control switches are not considered energy-isolating devices). In most cases, these devices will have loops or tabs which can be locked to a stationary item in a safe position (de-energized position).

Safety devices such as barrier guards or guarding devices are installed on systems to maintain worker safety while these systems are being operated.

Why lock out tag out is important & required?
– When non-routine activities such as maintenance, repair, or set-up; or the removal of jams, clogs or misaligned feeds are performed, these safety devices may be removed provided there are alternative methods in place to protect workers from the increased risk of injury of exposure to the unintended or inadvertent release of energy.

– The main method used and recommended to protect workers from risk of harm in these cases is the use of a lockout/tag out program (LOTO).

What is the purpose of a Lock out/ tag out program?

– When non-routine activities such as maintenance, repair, or set-up; or the removal of jams, clogs or misaligned feeds are performed, these safety devices may be removed provided there are alternative methods in place to protect workers from the increased risk of injury of exposure to the unintended or inadvertent release of energy.

– The main method used and recommended to protect workers from risk of harm in these cases is the use of a lockout/tag out program (LOTO).

What is the purpose of a Lock out/ tag out program?
A lockout/tag out program will help prevent:

– Contact with a hazard while performing tasks that require the removal, bypassing, or deactivation of safe guarding devices.

– The unintended release of hazardous energy (stored energy).

– The unintended start-up or motion of machinery, equipment, or processes.

What does de-energization mean?

– De-energization is a process that is used to disconnect and isolate a system from a source of energy in order to prevent the release of that energy. 

– By de-energizing the system, you are eliminating the chance that the system could inadvertently, accidentally or unintentionally cause harm to a persons.

What should lockout procedures and works instruction contain?
The written lockout procedures will identify what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, what tools are available to do it, who is supposed to do it, and who needs to be notified.

The document should specify:

The actual specific machine, equipment, or process shutdown and isolation process.

How and where the lockout devices are installed.

How stored energy is controlled and subsequently de-energized.

How the isolation can be verified.  Work instructions will identify how the lockout process is to be carried out in a step-by-step manner including how stored energy is controlled and de-energized, how isolation can be verified, and how and where lockout devices are installed. 

Work instructions are machine, equipment or process specific and include pictures or images of what is being described.

Who needs training?
Affected person – is an employee whose job requires them to operate a system, or work in an area in which servicing or maintenance is being performed under lockout/tag out.

Authorized person – is an individual who is qualified to control hazardous energy sources because of their knowledge, training, and experience and has been assigned to engage in such control.

Other employees – people who work in the area of locked out machinery or equipment. 

What are the basic steps of locking and tagging out system?
– Lockout and tag out processes involve more than putting a LOCK & TAG on a switch.
– They are comprehensive step-by-step processes that involve COMMUNICATION, COORDINATION, and TRAINING.

Steps of a lockout/tag out program include:

1. Prepare for shutdown.
– The authorized person will identify which sources of energy are present and must be controlled; and more importantly, identify what method of control will be used.

– This step involves completing sets of specific work instructions that outline what controls and practices are needed to lock and tag out a system before performing any activity.

2. Notify all affected employees.
The authorized person will communicate the following information to notify affected persons:

– What is going to be locked/tagged out.
– Why it is going to be locked/tagged out.
– For approximately how long will the system be unavailable.
– Who is responsible for the lockout/tag out.
– Who to contact for more information.

3. Equipment Shutdown.

– If the system is operating it should be shutdown in its normal manner. 

– Read the instructions manual. Equipment shutdown involves ensuring controls are in the off position, and verifying that all moving parts such as flywheels, gears, and spindles have come to a complete stop.

4. Isolation of system from hazardous energy.

– The exact written instructions will be specific to that system in the workplace.

– Electrical energy – Switch electrical disconnects to the off position.  Visually verify that the breaker connections are in the off position. Lock the disconnects into the off position.

Hydraulic and Pneumatic Energy & Lockout

– Hydraulic and Pneumatic potential energy – Set the valves in the closed position and lock them into place.

– Bleed off the energy by opening the pressure relief valves, then closing the airlines.

– Mechanical potential energy – carefully release energy from springs that may still be compressed.  If this is not feasible, block the parts that may move if there is a possibility that the spring can transfer energy to it.

– Gravitational potential energy – Use a safety block or pin to prevent the part of the system that may fall or move.

– Chemical energy – locate chemical supply lines to the system and close and lockout the valves.  Where possible, bleed lines and/or cap ends to remove chemicals from the system.

5. Dissipation of residual or stored energy.

Electrical energy. 

– Many systems with electrical components, motors, or switch gears contain capacitors. 

– Capacitors store electrical energy. 

– Capacitors must be discharged in the lockout process in order to protect workers from electrical shock.

6. Lockout/Tag out

– When the system’s energy sources are locked out, there are specific guidelines that must be followed to ensure that the lock cannot be removed, and the system cannot be inadvertently operated.

These guidelines include:

– There should be as many locks on the system as there are people working on it. For example, if a maintenance job requires 3 workers, then 3 locks should be present – each of the individuals should place their OWN lock on the system.

– Locks can only be removed by those who installed them, and should only be removed using a specific process.

7. Verify Isolation. 

– Verify that the system is properly locked out before beginning any work. Verification can take place in several ways.
Visual inspection of:
– Electrical connections to ensure they are open.
– Suspended parts are lowered to a resting position or blocked to prevent movement.
– Other devices that restrain machine or process movement.
– Valve positioning for double block and bleed (for pipes or ducts) – closing two valves of a section of a line, and then bleeding (or venting) the section of the line between the two closed valves.
– Presence of solid plate used to absolutely close a line – called line blanking (for pipes or ducts).
– Any other acceptable method of energy isolation.

Testing of the equipment:
– Test circuitry (should be done by a certified electrician) – however, equipment with capacitors needs to be cycled until all energy is drained.
– Check pressure gauges to ensure hydraulic and pneumatic potential energy has been removed.
– Check temperature gauges to ensure thermal energy has been discharged.

8. Perform maintenance of service activity.
– Complete the activity that required the lockout process to be started.

9. Remove Lockout/Tag out devices.
– To remove locks and tags from a system that is now ready to be put back into service, the following general procedure can be used:

– Inspect the work area to ensure all tools and items have been removed.
– Confirm that all employees and persons are safely located away from hazardous areas.
– Verify that controls are in a neutral position.
– Remove devices and re-energize machine.
– Notify affected employees that servicing is completed.

*Note –  It is good practice to ensure any individual who placed a lock on the system should also be present when the system is re-started. 

This practice helps make sure those employees working on the system are not in a hazardous area when the machine is restarted.

Restart Procedure.
Authorized employee will:
– Clean up and inspect work area
– Clear personnel from start-up area and notify affected employees of start-up
– Remove lockout devices or tags and reenergize machinery or equipment
– Closed Permit to work and Isolation Permit  Restart equipment 

Who is responsible for the lock-out program.
In General:
Each party in the workplace has a responsibility in the lockout program.

Management is responsible for:
– Drafting, periodically reviewing, and updating the written program.
– Identifying the employees, machines, equipment, and processes included in the program.
– Providing the necessary protective equipment, hardware and appliances.
– Monitoring and measuring conformance with the program.

Supervisors are responsible for:
– Distributing protective equipment, hardware, and any appliance; and ensuring its proper use by employees.
– Ensuring that equipment-specific procedures are established for the machines, equipment and processes in their area.
– Ensuring that only properly trained employees perform service or maintenance that require lockout.
– Ensuring that employees under their supervision follow the established lockout procedures where required.

Employees are responsible for:
– Assisting in the development of equipment-specific procedures.
– Following the procedures that have been developed.
– Reporting any problems associated with those procedures, the equipment, or the process of locking and tagging out.

Note: The Canadian standard CSA Z460-05 (R2010) “Control of Hazardous Energy – Lockout and Other Methods” contains more information and many informative annexes about various risk assessment, lockout situations, and other control methods.

Key Points to Remember.
– Hazardous energy is dangerous and deadly.
– Lockout/Tagout is used whenever unexpected start-up or stored energy. release could occur.
– Be sure to leave all Lockout/Tagout devices in place and wait for instructions before using equipment.
– Verify that equipment is safe to operate following lockout/tagout.

Reference: Technical Presentation of Mr.Casimiro Flores Jr.,RME,CPM,OSH Practitioner 

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