A Power Trip | Hazardous Energy

When machines and equipment are being serviced or maintained, the unexpected startup of the equipment or a release of stored energy in the equipment can harm workers. This hazardous energy, if not properly controlled, can cause serious injuries, such as electrocutions, burns, crushing injuries, amputations, fractures, or even death.

Approximately 3 million workers routinely service or maintain equipment and have an increased risk of hazardous energy injury. In many industries, nearly 10 percent of serious accidents are caused by a failure to control hazardous energy. On average, hazardous energy injuries require 24 days of recuperation for the affected worker.

Hazardous energy can be electrical, hydraulic, mechanical, chemical, thermal, or can come from other energy sources. These sources must be isolated and rendered inoperative before equipment servicing or maintenance work begins. Employers must protect workers from hazardous energy and ensure workers are trained on hazardous energy control procedures. Workers should receive training on:

  • The employer’s energy control program;
  • Proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) practices, procedures, and limitations;
  • OSHA requirements related to lockout/tagout;
  • The purpose and use of energy control procedures;
  • The hazardous energy sources in the workplace;
  • The type and magnitude of energy found in the workplace;
  • The means and methods of isolating and/or controlling the energy;
  • New or changed control methods;
  • Maintaining proficiency with retraining as needed.

For more information on this topic, review the OSHA standards that address controlling hazardous energy. Additionally, OSHA’s Lockout/Tagout Fact Sheet describes how to prevent hazardous energy release in machinery and equipment.

Date Posted: 04-22-2017
Tags: hazardous energy, injury prevention, lockout tagout, LOTO, osha safety topics, osha workplace safety,
Categories: OSHA Safety,