Lockout Tagout (LOTO) is one of the most critical processes of any safety program. When done properly, LOTO eliminates and/or controls the accidental and unexpected release of hazardous energy that could result in serious injury or even death. Identifying and isolating the primary energy source(s) is only the beginning of effective LOTO.
The Control of Hazardous Energy is covered under the OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.147 and is addressed in a number of other OSHA standards (see below*). This information might be familiar to you, but an element of hazardous energy control that is sometimes overlooked is “stored energy.” Addressing this specific topic is just as important as any other part of your LOTO program. Let's take a closer look at this hazard.
What is stored energy?
Stored energy can be more difficult to identify and requires a working knowledge of the equipment or machinery being serviced. Some examples of stored energy include:
Spring under tension;
Pressurized steam and/or water line;
Raised bucket of mobile equipment (skid steer, loader, excavator, etc.);
There may be other examples of stored energy in your workplace; make sure they are all identified.
How do we control and/or eliminate stored energy?
Having a working knowledge of the equipment being serviced is essential to identifying stored energy. Some examples of stored energy controls include:
Allowing a blade to completely stop rotating before servicing;
Releasing pressurized steam and/or water lines by opening the proper relief valve(s);
Blocking or cribbing elevated mobile equipment buckets;
*The control of hazardous energy is addressed in a number of OSHA standards, including Marine Terminals (1917 Subpart C), Safety and Health Regulations for Longshoring (1918 Subpart G), Safety and Health Regulations for Construction; Electrical (1926 Subpart K), Concrete and Masonry Construction (1926 Subpart Q), Electric Power Transmission and Distribution (1926 Subpart V), and General Industry; Electrical (1910 Subpart S), Special Industries (1910 Subpart R), and Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution (1910.269).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeremiah LaCross, MEMIC Safety Management Consultant, has ten years of experience as a safety specialist. Much of his focus has been on manufacturing, higher education & hospitality, which include roles as a Safety & Regulatory Compliance Manager and Environmental, Health & Safety Coordinator. Jeremiah's background allows him to assist organizations in identifying workplace safety risks and implementing viable solutions.
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