Lockout & Isolation of Energy in the Workplace – What’s the Risk?
By: Paula Stanley, Manager Environmental Health & Safety Group, email
We continue to see the Ministry of Labour court bulletins outlining convictions for guarding and lockout injuries. The most recent one was just last week! A local company was fined $55,000 dollars for just this.
What do you need to do as an employer?
Hazard and risk assessments are part of the requirements under occupational health and safety legislation. It is often hard to have in-house expertise to identify these risks. Documentation of hazards in your business and how you mitigate them set the groundwork for a safe workplace and is a requirement under safety legislation in most provinces and countries.
There are inherent risks with moving parts and energy isolation. These are definitely high-risk situations. Every workplace with moving parts and energy isolation situations requires an energy control program. Part of this is lock out tag out. These programs will prevent injuries by mitigating the risk from moving parts, stored energy and unintended startup of machinery just to name a few.
What are the requirements for this type of program?
This type of program should set out the following (this is not an all-inclusive list):
- The machinery or equipment involved in the shutdown procedure.
- How to apply and where to apply the lockout safety equipment.
- How any stored energy should be released.
- How to verify that the energy or equipment has been isolated.
Other requirements include:
- Who is authorized to perform this procedure?
- The training required.
- Who needs to be notified of this isolation?
Employers, supervisors and authorized employees, have responsibilities under the legislation in regards to this program type.
Employers are responsible to ensure a program is in place that identifies:
- Employees, machinery and any other equipment are included in the program.
- Provide the necessary safety equipment for the process involved including PPE (proper protective equipment).
- Monitoring, ensuring compliance with the program and that the program meets the needs of the tasks performed.
Supervisors are required to:
- Make sure the safety equipment and PPE are available to employees.
- Ensure that equipment-specific procedures are in place for each of the items in their area of operations.
- Ensure that only trained employees perform these duties.
- Ensure that employees follow the equipment specific procedures set out for their area of operation.
Employees are required to:
- Follow the procedure(s) that have been set out by the company including the use of equipment, requirements for PPE and safety equipment.
- Ensure that they report any issues or concerns with the procedures, equipment, PPE and/or the process itself.
Safety is everyone’s responsibility! If you have questions about lock out tag out, isolation of energy, or any other safety requirements, contact your environmental health & safety experts at Dell Tech. We look forward to serving as your partner in your safety programs.
Dell Tech has provided professional, confidential consulting services to the chemical specialty industry in Canada, USA, Europe and Asia for the last 39 years. Contact us today for more information.