A new website from the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Manufacturing Sector Council features ways in which businesses and companies can safeguard employees from the release of hazardous energy during service and maintenance activities. This issue was taken up by NORA, the partnership program developed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) which identifies workplace safety and health issues that require more attention and research.
Injuries and deaths can result from the unsafe release, presence or activation of stored energy during servicing or repair. For instance, an employee who tries to clear a jam but either fails to de-energize the machine or fails to lockout sources of energy allows another person (passers-by, contractor, temporary, or close co-workers) to dangerously reactivate the system. Specific practices and procedures ensuring deactivation and the control of reactivation, referred to as “lockout/tagout,” are meant to safeguard employees from unexpected startup of machinery, unsafe release of energy, or exposure to uncontrolled hazards, including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, and other hazards.
The new website provides current and adapted resources to help companies and businesses start, or improve and maintain any existing lockout/tagout programs they may already have in place. It features a resource guide with step-by-step guidance and customizable materials and templates to help with the implementation of effective strategies for the control of unsafe hazardous energy release. As part of its mission to promote the adoption of solutions for the over 15 million manufacturing workers in the nation, the Manufacturing Sector Council provides this resource after a thorough, collaborative and vetted effort.
In 2014, members of the Council co-authored the NIOSH Science Blog A Wrench in the Gear: Lockout/tagout in the food industry. The blog stated the Council’s intent to help small manufacturers with the control of hazardous energy, and asked for public input to enhance understanding of the issues surrounding lockout programs in the food and beverage processing industry. Now, as part of the third decade of NORA (2016-2026), the Manufacturing Sector Council can further assist with lockout programs through the dissemination of occupational safety and health solutions that work.
To access the new website, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/nora/councils/manuf/loto/default.html
To learn more about the NORA Manufacturing Sector Council, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/nora/councils/manuf/default.html
NIOSH is the federal institute that conducts research and makes recommendations for preventing work-related injuries and illnesses. More information about NIOSH can be found at www.cdc.gov/niosh.