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ToolBox Tuesday – Lock-out / Tag-out

ToolBox Tuesday- Safety Tool Box Talk
Our Team is our Greatest Asset!!

Anyone who operates, cleans, services, adjusts, and repairs machinery or equipment should be aware of the
hazards associated with that machinery. Any powered machinery or electrical equipment that can move in a way that
would put people in danger is a hazard that can be prevented by following locking or tagging procedures. Failure to lock
out or tag power sources on equipment can result in electrocutions, amputations, and other serious-sometimes fatalaccidents.

Just this past week there were a few stories in the news about workers who died doing their job related to not
having control of hazardous energy. What are the most common causes of these accidents?

The machine or piece of equipment was not completely shut off before a maintenance or repair operation. Not
only must the machine be turned off but also the power source that goes to it.
The machine was turned on accidentally, either out of carelessness or because the person who turned it on didn’t
realize that another worker was there and could get hurt.

The machine wasn’t working correctly but wasn’t fixed, turned off, locked or tagged, and someone who didn’t
know about the problem used it.

Moving equipment wasn’t blocked.

Safety procedures were inadequate or hadn’t been properly explained.

Remember the dangers and be on your guard around any machinery and moving equipment. Even if you don’t
operate the machinery, you could get caught in it and injured if it isn’t properly disconnected. So what can you do to
prevent accidental injury from moving machinery?

Ensure you know the hazardous energy associated with your equipment prior to doing any work on it.
Ensure you know all the energy that could affect the task (electric, gravity, water, pneumatic, hydraulic, steam,

Ensure you control the accidental release of the energy prior to working on the equipment through lockout,
tagout or alternative measures identified for your specific equipment.

Never reach into moving equipment. In even the blink of an eye you could have a life changing injury.

Test the energy after you believe it to be isolated. This is one of the most overlooked steps and probably the most
important. Employees think they have isolated the energy at the source, but it isn’t for one reason or another.
Be aware of your personal safety and the safety of others when working with or around moving equipment and
machinery. Always follow proper lockout and tagout procedures, even for a quick or minor repair!

As OSHA states in their standard, the purpose of LOTO is to prevent the “unexpected” energization or start up of the machines or equipment, or release of stored energy could cause injury to employees.

Depending on the task you are performing you need to evaluate and isolate the systems and sources of energy that could cause injury

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Understanding Electricity And Breaker Panels

The process of forcing electrons to move through a material creates electricity. A standard generator performs
this process. The best material for carrying electricity is a “conductor.” Most metals are excellent conductors and the
most common material used for electrical wiring is copper.

In order to provide protection from direct contact with the conductor, an “insulator” is used as a cover around the
conductor. Electrons will not move easily through insulators such as most plastics and rubber. Insulators and proper
grounding help to prevent electrical shocks. Typically, electricity is provided to your building or facility by way of
underground or overhead power lines originating from a nearby electrical power plant. The power lines feed into your
electrical breaker panel (s). Each breaker in a panel represents a circuit supplying electricity to a designated area of your

The majority of your electrical safety considerations begin at the breaker panel. Here are some basic safety considerations for all panels:

1) The breaker panel should be readily and easily accessible at all times. Do not store any items on the floor area directly in front of the panel. Maintain an aisle in front of the panel that is at least three feet wide.

2) The panel should have a closed cover. The cover should not be locked unless work is in progress requiring that the cover be
locked as part of the lock out procedure.

3) The panel should have a directory index identifying each individual circuit breaker. It is usually found secured to the inside face of the cover. The directory should identify the various receptacles, general area, or equipment serviced by each circuit breaker.

4) There should not be any missing breakers or other openings in the breaker faceplate that would allow you to contact the “hot”
electrical bus at the back of the panel.

5) Dust may damage the breakers to the point where they will not “trip” when needed.

6) Breakers should never be taped or otherwise secured in the “closed” (on) position.

7) Each circuit breaker and circuit is rated for a maximum amount of amperes. An ampere is the unit for measuring the rate of flow of electricity through the circuit. If the rate of flow in the circuit exceeds the designated maximum for the breaker, the breaker “trips” and stops the flow of electricity. If the breaker is not allowed to trip, insulators could melt from excessive conductor heat caused by electricity flowing too fast! Fires or increased exposure to shock may also occur.

8) Lastly, breakers should not be taped in the “open” position as a means of de-energizing the circuit during repair or maintenance activity. Open breakers should be properly tagged or locked out.