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Lock Down - business security

The Importance of Lock Out Equipment

A key issue in the workplace is the accessibility of machinery upon which maintenance work is being undertaken.

If out of action machinery is used, the consequences can be huge with the risk of severe injury to the maintenance staff working on the equipment, as well as potential damage to the machinery itself.

Whenever maintenance work is being carried out and injury could result from the unexpected start-up of machinery, or the work requires access within areas usually protected by safety guarding, then additional measures are required to reduce the risks.

Workplaces should have clear rules in place on isolation procedures and in what circumstances they are required. This legislation is covered by The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER) and generally workplaces must use appropriate signage to indicate that maintenance is in progress, as well as specially designed devices to isolate machinery from its power supply.

These usually come in the form of lockout systems and the type of product you use largely depends on how many employees are involved in the maintenance work and the energy source you need to isolate.

The most common type of lockout devices are easily recognisable padlocks that prevent power supplies being switched on. Like all lockout devices, these should be provided by the employer specifically for lockout purposes, standardised and identifiable with the name of the person who applied it. Ideally, they should also be key-retaining meaning the lock has to be secured and locked before the key can be removed.

There are also a wide range of products available that are specifically designed to lockout individual power sources that can be used with electrical products as well as valved equipment that might use gas, steam or liquids. In addition, lockout bags can be used to block access to entire control panels and large electrical connections.

When more than one maintenance worker is involved in the work, safety hasps can permit multiple workers to fix their individual padlocks to a single isolation point. Once the work is complete, the hasp won’t open until all the workers have released their own padlocks. For larger-scale maintenance projects, group lockout boxes can be used to store the keys for up to 12 padlocks and these won’t be released until the last worker unlocks their padlock.

UK Legislation:

Legislation On The Use And Maintenance Of Workplace Equipment.

Those responsible must select and install equipment properly, use it carefully and make sure it is maintained to protect the health and safety of yourself, employees and others who may be affected by the way you use it. Sensible risk assessment is the key, following manufacturer’s recommendations for use and maintenance, and ensuring employees are trained and competent. This includes taking reasonable steps to ensure new work equipment complies with the relevant European requirements for safe design and construction. You must not use, or permit the use of unsafe work equipment.

What you should know:

Nearly all equipment used at work is subject to the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), which place duties on employers, the self-employed and those who control work equipment. Work equipment may also be subject to more specific legislation, for example:

  • The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER).
  • The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989.
  • The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992.

In addition to the general requirements applicable to most work equipment, PUWER covers in particular:

  • The risks from riding on and controlling mobile work equipment.
  • Operator visibility.
  • Protection from falling objects and from rolling over.
  • Restraint systems (seat belts, etc).
  • Inspection / thorough examination of power presses.

For further information about the specific regulations mentioned above please visit www.slingsby.com/healthandsafety

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