This Operating Experience Level 3 document provides information about a safety concern related to maintenance operations involving equipment that utilizes fans such as air handlers, exhaust fans, and other types of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment at Department of Energy facilities. A common cause of these events was the failure to recognize the hazards of the rotating belt, shaft, pulley, or fan "windmilling" caused by air pressure differentials in an open system. The hazards associated with "windmilling" and controls to reduce or eliminate those hazards were not included in the job hazard analyses, job pre-briefing process or procedure. Workers were inadequately trained and/or briefed which caused them to mistakenly believe that when electrical energy was turned off hazardous energy exposures were controlled.
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