Improving and Maintaining an Existing Hazardous Energy Control/Lockout Program

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Hazardous energy control encompasses Machine Guarding, Alternative Measures (alternative guarding arrangement that prevents exposure to hazardous energy), Lockout, and other methods of ensuring worker safety from contact with hazardous energy.

The Hazardous Energy Control (Lockout and Other Means) Resource Guide offers sample Lockout materials and templates to help with the implementation of effective strategies to control the release of hazardous energy.

Members of the Manufacturing Sector Council compiled, reviewed, and adapted resources to help companies and businesses start or improve and maintain their existing Lockout Program.

Companies must have a program outlining the steps to de-energize machines and lock out all sources of energy.

A successful program will consist of 4 main activities:

  1. Energy control procedures;
  2. Employee training;
  3. Auditing or periodic inspections (to ensure that before service, maintenance are performed machines are effectively locked and tagged to prevent their starting); and,
  4. Planning and acquiring or designing equipment that will accommodate lockout procedures.

The guide contains information on regulatory requirements, general guidance, and procedures that your company can use to implement an effective Hazardous Energy Control (Lockout/Tagout) Program and prevent unexpected energizing, start-up or release of stored energy which could cause serious injury or death to workers.

Injuries related to Lockout often occur when employee services or repairs a machine or tries to clear a jam, but fails to de-energize the machine and lockout sources of energy.  Problems can also occur during the process of re-energizing.

Sources of energy are not only electrical; they can also include mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other sources of energy. The failure to develop and use hazardous energy control (Lockout) procedures is one of OSHA’s annual top 10 most frequently cited workplace safety violations. Injuries and fatalities that happen for failure to implement a Lockout Program, are much more costly than the citations (not only in economic terms).

A comprehensive, written, diligently planned and executed Hazardous Energy Control (Lockout) Program protects the life and the safety and health of workers; it is a very important part of machine maintenance and production servicing operations.