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LEGISLATIVE INTERPRETATIONS

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT

Code of practice for cleaning, maintaining, adjustments and repairs of a machine – Definition of appropriate

Topic: Code of practice for cleaning, maintaining, adjustments and repairs of a machine – Definition of appropriate Issued By: V.P., WorkSafe Services
Statute: Regulation 91-191 Date Issued: November 15, 2005
Section: 240 Date Revised:

240 Where the lockout procedure referred to in section 239 is inappropriate for the cleaning, maintenance, adjustments or repairs to be performed or is inadequate for the protection of an employee, an employer shall

    (a) establish a code of practice in consultation with the joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative, if any, specifying personnel responsibilities, personnel training and details of procedure for the neutralization, clearance, release and start-up of the machine, and

    (b) comply with and enforce the code of practice.

Question:
How do I determine when the lockout procedure is inappropriate?

Answer:
The code of practice that is used when the lockout procedure is inappropriate is not a quick and easy way to avoid locking out because locking out would disrupt production and costs money. It must be a well-conceived plan based on a risk assessment that allows a specific task to be accomplished safely without full compliance with the individual lockout provisions found in section 239.

The lockout procedure is inappropriate when:

  1. Energy to the machine must be available in order to perform the task and therefore a full zero-energy state cannot be achieved (for example, when a conveyor needs to be moving for the speed to be adjusted).
  2. Group lockout is practised (see Interpretation on Code of Practice for Group Lock Out).
  3. The task meets the following criteria, where applicable (please note that financial consideration is not a criterion in the determination inappropriateness):

    (a) is of short duration
    (b) is relatively minor in nature
    (c) occurs frequently during the shift or production day
    (d) is usually performed by operators or others functioning as operators who have control of the control panel
    (e) represents a predetermined recurring activity
    (f) minimally interrupts the operation of the production process

    Examples of such tasks include, but are not limited to, tool changes, minor cleaning, clearing, troubleshooting, adjustments, inspections, and set-up.

Developing the code of practice is as challenging, if not more so, than developing the lockout procedure. It must:

  • Be developed in consultation with the JHSC or the health and safety representative,
  • Specify
    • the responsibilities of everyone involved
    • the training everyone involved must have
    • the procedure to follow in performing the task from the moment the normal operation of the machine is suspended to when it is resumed
  • Be complied with and enforced by the employer

The development of the code of practice involves a risk assessment that will:

  • Identify the risks associated with performing the task without full compliance with the individual lock out provisions found in section 239
  • Identify the steps that must be taken to reduce these risks

In performing the risk assessment, it may be necessary to:

  • Trace wires, lines and piping in and out of the equipment
  • Refer to specifications, drawings, operating manuals
  • Talk to the manufacturer
  • Remove or modify existing safeguards provided with the machine
  • Equip machine with special features such as jog buttons or slow motion feature

The new CSA standard Z460-05, Control of hazardous energy - Lockout and other methods and other similar standards available from standard setting agencies may be used for guidance in developing an effective and safe lockout program.

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