Lock Out - Your Life and Limbs Depend on it Hazard Alert

Topic: Lock Out - Your Life and Limbs Depend on it
Date Issued: May 1, 2009 Date Revised: August 29, 2023

 A worker was killed when he was crushed to death in a chipper machine. Someone started the conveyor at the operator’s console after the worker, who was completing repairs on the machine, had descended into the conveyor to retrieve a tool.

A worker amputated two fingers and part of his left hand when another worker turned on the saw from which he was removing debris.

A worker required 14 stitches to his right hand after he reactivated a bending machine while changing the die. He accidentally touched the foot pedal, which activated the machine, and the die lowered on his right hand.

Recommended Preventive Action

  1. Equipment: Employers must ensure that a machine or equipment has a properly identified, lockable means of isolating the energy source, in a location familiar to all employees. The employer shall also provide a safety lock and key to employees who may have to lock out a machine or equipment.
  2. Procedure: An employer shall establish a written lockout procedure specific to each machine or piece of equipment being cleaned, maintained, adjusted or repaired. Each procedure must contain the following:
    a) No employee can work on the machine or equipment until a competent person has put the machine or equipment in a zero energy state (see Zero Energy State – Safety Considerations, below).
    b) Each employee working on the machine or equipment must: verify that all potential energy sources have been made inoperative; lock out the machine using the safety lock and key provided by the employer; and attach a tag to the lock.
    c) Only the person who installed the lockout device or tag on a machine or equipment may remove it, except in an emergency, or where attempts have been made to contact the original installer.
  3. Training: Employers must ensure that an employee who may have to lock out a machine or equipment has been adequately trained to do so, and is acquainted with the hazards associated with the task.
  4. Code of Practice: Where lockout is inappropriate, the employer must establish a code of practice in consultation with the joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative (if any), to carry out the work safely.

Zero Energy State – Safety Considerations

A lockout procedure or code of practice should take into consideration more than just power sources for a given machine or equipment. Anything that could cause the machine to spontaneously or unexpectedly move is a risk to workers, including:

  • Pressurized fluids and air
  • Potential mechanical energy
  • Accumulators and air surge tanks
  • Kinetic energy of machine members
  • Loose or freely moveable machine members
  • Moveable material or work pieces that are supported, retained or controlled by a machine or equipment and that could move or cause the machine or equipment to move

For more information about lockout, see sections 239 to 240 of General Regulation 91-191, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of New Brunswick.

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