Identification of Hazardous Energy

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Type:  Lessons Learned

Publisher:  Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project, Idaho-AMWTP

Published As:  Public


Topics:  Electrical, Operations, Hazardous Energy Control

Over time, several events have occurred at the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project where an energy source was not considered or was not deemed to be hazardous energy and therefore lockout/tagout was not used to protect personnel from the unexpected energization or startup of a machine or equipment.

OSHAs definition of "energy source" is, in essence, that an energy source is a source of energy. If an energy source does not have the capability of causing injury to employees, it is not "hazardous" energy within the scope of lockout/tagout. As used in the lockout/tagout standard, an energy source includes the means of transmission of the energy from its true source to the energy isolating device. Therefore, isolating a machine or equipment from an energy source means utilizing an energy isolating device to interrupt the flow of energy from the means of transmission of the energy to the machine or equipment.

Lessons Learned: When analyzing an energy source, one must analyze the energy from the perspective of the task to be performed. An energy source may be deemed non-hazardous for one task and yet that same energy source may be deemed hazardous when performing a different task, sometimes within the same overall work scope. For this reason, it is important that each individual task and the environment that it is to be performed in be considered when identifying hazards.

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