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Hazardous Energy Lockout / Tagout

Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Hazardous Energy Lockout / Tagout Fried and Died

Hazardous Energy Lockout/Tagout: Fried and DiedThe consequences of failing to effectively lock out/tagout equipment can be catastrophic. An extreme example of this occurred at a Wyman-Gordon Forgings, Inc., facility in Houston, Texas, on December 22, 1996, when eight workers were killed. A crew of ten maintenance workers was performing work on a 40-foot-high pressurized nitrogen tank for a 35-ton forging press. They believed that the pressure had been bled from the tank prior to beginning work. When two-inch bolts were removed from a three-foot-square lid, it blew off, ripping a 40-by-50-foot hole in the factory roof. Five of the workers were blown off of the top of the tank. How could this have been prevented?

The OSHA-proposed penalty was $1,803,500. The citation that OSHA issued had 34 items listed, including:

  • There was a failure to provide appropriate hardware for isolating, securing, or blocking machines or equipment from energy sources.
  • The hazardous energy control procedures (HECP) did not clearly and specifically outline the scope, purpose, authorization, rules, and techniques to be used for the control of hazardous energy.
  • The employer failed to effectively train each authorized employee.
  • The employer did not conduct a periodic inspection of the energy control procedure at least annually.

Hazardous Energy Lockout/Tagout: Fried and DiedAnother example that illustrates the need to use of HECPs and effective communication between host employers and contractors occurred at RR Donnelley & Sons Company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on December 22, 2002. The contractor, who was with Herr and Sacco, Inc., was severely burned by a release of steam from a line that he believed had been de-energized. He died from the burns. Both employers were cited, with RR Donnelley & Sons paying $55,000 as the host employer and Herr and Sacco incorporated paying $3,325. OSHA items common to both
citations included:

    Hazardous Energy Lockout / Tagout: Fried and Died
  • Lack of a compliant energy control program
  • Absence of a suitable hazardous energy control procedure
  • Failure to provide appropriate hardware for isolating, securing or blocking machines or equipment from energy sources
  • Failure of the on-site and outside employers to inform each other of their respective lockout or tagout procedures

Failing to protect your employees from an unexpected release of energy can obviously have significant adverse consequences. 1Source Safety and Health, Inc. can help you to properly address this exposure by working with you to develop and implement compliant hazardous energy control programs, develop equipment-specific HECP, and provide training. For additional information or support contact Colin J. Brigham, CIH, CSP, CPE, CPEA, email or 610-524-5525, xt. 24.



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