The importance of implementing plant safety measures is undeniable, especially when exposed to heat processing equipment. Accidents and injuries in industrial plants are common but can be easily avoided if the right precautions are taken.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), injuries caused by hazardous energy account for 10 percent of accidents in many industries. Hazardous energy is found in electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal or other sources in machines and equipment. OSHA’s “lockout/tagout” (LOTO) procedures provide guidelines for controlling this hazardous energy when servicing or maintaining equipment.
LOTO requires that prior to any routine maintenance or service on equipment, an authorized employee must follow certain procedures to ensure safety. After the equipment is turned off and disconnected from its energy source, to prevent the release of hazardous energy a lockout or tagout device must be applied to the energy-isolating device and it must be verified that the energy has been isolated effectively.
If the correct safety measures are not taken, the release of this stored energy could cause serious injury. It is highly recommended that employers create a procedure for employees to follow when dealing with potentially hazardous energy.
For more information on LOTO, procedure requirements and sample procedures, visit OSHA’s Control of Hazardous Energy webpage.