If equipment is serviced or adjusted onsite, you must have a Lockout/Tagout program. The purpose of a Lockout/Tagout program is to control the unexpected release of hazardous energy when servicing or maintaining equipment. An effective Lockout/Tagout program is especially critical because these accidents can be catastrophic and can result in amputation, struck-by or electrocution injuries. A formal written program is required which must include your hazard assessment, locks and tags to be used, who is authorized to perform LO/TO, your enforcement policy and training methods, and your method for auditing and updating procedures.
All sources and types of energy must be identified and controlled. Sometimes unplugging equipment alone can prevent release of hazardous energy; however, you must maintain control of the plug. OSHA requires a written procedure for shutting down and locking/tagging out each piece of equipment to be serviced. You must provide the appropriate locks and tags, periodically inspect your procedures, and most importantly, train employees on their role in the program, even if it is just to recognize tags or locks and leave the equipment alone.
Except in emergencies, each lock/tag must be removed by the person who put it on. Each employee must have his or her own locks and tags. Make sure your written program accounts for situations where servicing lasts longer than one shift, where contractors are involved, or where there is a group of employees servicing a piece of equipment.
Training of employees must be provided whenever there is a change in job assignments, machines, equipment, or processes that present a new hazard, when there is a change in energy control procedures, if an employee fails to use the energy control procedure, or at least every three years.
Inspections of each energy control procedure must be performed annually. The employer must certify that the periodic inspections have been performed. The certification must identify the particular machine, the date of the inspection, the employees included in the inspection, and the name of the person performing the inspection.
Electrical hazards are another frequently cited area. An average of one worker dies from electrocution on the job every day. Even low voltage or low current can cause serious harm or death.
Check your tools and equipment to ensure that the ground prong is present and that cords are in good condition. OSHA requires that live parts of electric equipment operating at 50 volts or more be guarded against accidental contact. Whenever conduit or electrical equipment is in a location where it could be exposed to physical damage, it must be enclosed or guarded. Junction boxes, pull boxes and fittings must have approved covers. Unused openings in cabinets, boxes, and fittings must be closed.
Flexible cords are vulnerable because they can be damaged by aging, door or window edge contact, staples or fastenings used to hold them in place, abrasion from adjacent materials that they may contact, and various activities in their proximity. Improper use of flexible cords, or use of damaged cords, can cause shocks, burns, or fire. Whenever possible, it is preferable to use one of OSHA’s recognized “hard” wiring methods. OSHA allows flexible cords to be used only for certain applications.
Check your circuits regularly; an inexpensive tester can tell you if the ground is connected and can also test your GFI protection. A GFCI is required on outdoor connections and anywhere there could be water. Your safety program must include policies for grounding systems and electrical shut-off device systems. Develop policies for use of ladders and scaffolding when around electrical devices. Extension cords have specific current ratings that must not be exceeded or it can overheat and cause a fire without tripping the circuit breaker. Use a qualified electrician for installation and repair of any circuits.
Developing a safety program may seem like a daunting and expensive task for your business; but it is essential and is money well-spent. Studies have shown a $4 to $6 return for every dollar invested in safety and health. This series has covered four of the major safety programs that are typically needed in solid surface fabrication shops. Remember, a successful safety program is key to having not only healthy and competent workers, but also a healthy successful business.
This is a broad overview of some of the many topics regarding SSF Safety. For further information regarding these or other OSHA Compliance requirements for SSF, visit us at www.technetrainonline.com or contact us at (800) 852-8314.