Dozens of construction workers are killed every year because they did not de-energize equipment or lock it out before working on it. Most of the deaths are electrocutions, but workers sometimes are crushed or have amputations or other injuries. These types of energy need to be controlled: electric, hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical, and pressurized liquids, vapors, and gases.
Lockout/tagout is a way to make sure electricity or other energy is not turned on (or released) while someone is working on machinery. Turning off a power switch is not enough. You must de-energize (prevent equipment from starting or moving), lock it out, release stored energy (for instance, bleed air from a pneumatic hose), and test to make sure the energy is off.
Your employer should:
The program should cover:
Tell equipment operators and supervisors that power is being disconnected
Complex lockout/tagout. A special written plan is needed when a job has more than one of any of these:
7. Verification. Use testing equipment (such as an electric circuit tester) to make sure equipment has been de-energized.
8. Removal of lockout/tagout devices. Only the worker who puts on a lockout or tagout device should take it off. If someone else must take off the device, he/she must be sure that the person who installed it is not on the site, and must warn that employee when he/she returns.
9. Return to service. When the work is done and lockout/tagout devices are off, you must test and look to be sure all tools, mechanical restraints, and electrical devices have been removed before you turn on power. Before you re-energize, you must warn all workers who can operate the equipment and make sure no one else is near it.
10. Temporary release. If the job requiring lockout/tagout is interrupted for testing or positioning equipment, the procedures must start all over.
For more information, call your local union, CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) (301-578-8500 or www.cpwr.com), NIOSH (1-800-35-NIOSH or www.cdc.gov/niosh), or OSHA (1-800-321-OSHA or www.osha.gov) or go to www.elcosh.org.
© 2002, CPWR – Center for Construction Research and Training. All rights reserved. CPWR is a research, development, and training arm of the Building and Construction Trades Dept., AFL-CIO: CPWR, Suite 1000, 8484 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20910. (Edward C. Sullivan is president of the Building and Construction Trades Dept. and of CPWR and Joseph Maloney is secretary treasurer.) Production of this card was supported by grant CCU310982 from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and grants U45- ES09764 and U45-ES06185 from the National Institute of Environmental Health. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIOSH or NIEHS.