Whenever a machine or equipment breaks down, energy sources including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other sources can be hazardous to workers. During service and maintenance, the unexpected startup or release of stored energy can result in serious injury or death to workers.
Maintenance is generally reserved for trained Facilities Service workers or trained service technicians. This can be challenging for laboratory researchers who may be accustomed to troubleshooting. Do not perform maintenance on energized systems if you are not trained, qualified, and authorized.
Hazardous energy is usually controlled through a process commonly known as Lock Out Tag Out or LOTO for short. It involves using specific procedures and methods to secure energy sources with physical locks and communication tags to prevent unwanted start-up.
What can you do?
EHS reminds everyone to consider whether energy can be released and cause injury or death.
- Can someone accidentally turn on the equipment while it is undergoing maintenance?
- Can stored energy such as electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other sources be released?
- At UT, maintenance may require special procedures to notify workers, properly shut down, de-energize or isolate energy sources, lock them securely, test them, perform maintenance then return the equipment to safe operation.
- If you are working at home never work on energized systems.
For more information
- Visit OSHA.gov for topics related to the control of hazardous energy.
- OSHA Fact Sheet on the Control of Hazardous Energy
- Contact the EHS Industrial Worker Safety Group for more information.