Sometimes we talk about lockout/tagout (LOTO) and machine guarding as if they are one topic, but they are different. Though they overlap, LOTO is much broader in the scope of hazards it covers.
Machine Guarding = Mechanical Hazards
Point of operation such as: where cutting, grinding, shaping, boring or forming is happening to material.
Power transmission devices such as: flywheels, pulleys, belts, connecting rods, couplings, cams, spindles, chains, cranks and gears.
These parts of a machine that are powered and in motion need to be guarded. If a guard needs to be removed the machine needs to be locked out and tagged first to prevent an accidental startup when a person is in the proximity of these unguarded mechanical hazards.
The LOTO OSHA standard is technically called “the control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout)”. Hazardous energy can come in many forms. Many people think LOTO is all about electrical energy. Here are some common energy sources you may need to lock and tag:
Mechanical: Includes moving parts and even elevated parts that can fall.
Hydraulic: Pressurized liquids.
Pneumatic: Pressurized gas.
Chemical: Energy from a chemical reaction between substances.
Thermal: Heat energy, such as steam.
Stored: Such as energy stored in batteries or capacitors.
Electrical: AC or DC electrical power.
What can you do going forward?
LOTO before removing machine guards.
Report missing machine guards.
LOTO machines and equipment when a person will be going into the proximity of hazardous energy.
Write formal LOTO procedures for anything you LOTO at your company.
Train employees about the hazards of removing machine guards and the need to LOTO.
Test the accuracy and effectiveness of the procedures, and whether employees are doing them correctly, at least annually.
If you do not have a formal lockout/tagout program and need help getting one started, contact your TBG Safety Services representative for assistance. Not sure who you are supposed to contact? Call (651) 389-1140 to be redirected to your assigned specialist.
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