Energy isolation, or as we call it over here, LOTO, is one of the more personal safety procedures. I always stress to my workers that LOTO is solely up to you as an individual and no one else. No one can lock out a piece of equipment for you, as you are the one that has to lock it out BEFORE you start to work on it.
As for the testing segment of LOTO, I am amazed at the number of employees who: 1) have never been trained or told to test before starting work and 2) testing a machine by just hiting the start/stop switch even when the equipment was dead to begin with. Most safety professionals have heard the phrase "Lock and Try". Not sure where it came from, but it sures does speak volumes! Working on equipment that has no been verified to be at ZERO energy state adds a tremendous amount of risk to an already hazardous task. In my 13 years as a safety pro, I have seen dozens of nearmisses and accidents where the wrong energy source was locked out, worker was working on the wrong equipment, or a tue verification of ZERO energy was never obtained. People lock ouot the wrong breakers more often than we think. This could be because of a project that did not relabel breakers or incorrect labeled them. Or the classic...not enough breakers in a cabinet so some genius wires up the equipment on an existing equipment and never reflects this in the drawings or on the panel label!!!!
Either way it goes, LOTO is NOT COMPLETED UNTIL a qualified worker has VERIFIED ZERO ENERGY BEFORE work begins!
By the way, in yesterday's daily incident alerts, this LOTO incident appeared. Clearly a LOTO incident!!!
Man's foot damaged in machinery
May 20, 2003, 15:34:00
A worker suffered serious injuries to his foot after it got caught in machinery at a Staffordshire building components factory. The man was servicing powder transfer machinery when it rotated and trapped him. He was pulled free by a work colleague at Swish Building Products in Tamworth last night. Paramedics were called to the firm, in Mariner, on Lichfield Industrial Estate, shortly after 9.10pm, and the worker was rushed to Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield. Swish Managing Director Ken Simpson said: "He was servicing a powder transfer unit which rotated and trapped his foot. "A colleague grabbed him and helped him free. "It was very quick and very frightening." He added: "We hope he will be out of hospital tomorrow." Staffordshire Ambulance Service spokesman Bob Lee said: "The patient suffered serious injuries to his foot. "He was given extensive pain-killing drugs at the scene and taken to Good Hope where he was in a stable condition." Lichfield and Tamworth firefighters were called out to the factory, which makes parts for roofs, fascias and windows, although the man had already been released from the machinery before they arrived. The Health and Safety Executive said today it had been informed and would be investigating the incident.
Bryan Haywood www.SAFTENG.net