You wouldn’t go sticking a knife in your toaster to get a lost piece of bread without unplugging it would you? Think about when an appliance stops working at home; when you go to take a closer look hopefully your first step is to unplug it. Electricity is an obvious form of hazardous energy we know to be careful of when performing maintenance on equipment. At work you may use equipment which depends on other sources of energy, including hydraulic, thermal, and chemical energy. No matter where the energy is coming from potential energy is dangerous if maintenance is to be performed on the equipment.
Before servicing equipment it must be de-energized. Furthermore, there needs to be a way to be certain the equipment remains de-energized until all work is completed and it is safe to start the machinery back up. This is where lockout and tagout procedures come in. Lockout/tagout procedures allow employees to safely get maintenance tasks done, while clearly communicating to everyone involved when equipment is okay or not okay to use.
Lockout / Tagout Training for Employees provides an overview of lockout tagout procedures, including information on types of energy sources, the Energy Control Plan, authorized vs. affected employees, lockout/tagout devices, energy control procedures, and special situations.
Lockout Tagout: Authorized Employees provides a detailed look at energy control procedures for the authorized employee, or the employee who is performing the maintenance and service work. It is critical for authorized employees to practice correct protocol for alerting the affected employees of the work they will be doing.
For more information on Lockout Tagout procedures check out this OSHA factsheet. For specific information on OSHA regulations regarding lockout and tagout procedures and controls of hazardous energy go here.