Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.10. Lock out procedures in the workplace – legal and organisational requirements

ryanrori February 8, 2021

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The words “lock-out procedure” makes one think of strikes. However, a lock-out procedure has nothing to do with strikes!https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQrCGms2o7Czqm4pKOuVuk1yWsrDZh05hf0EHj3tzleIUH-2ofl-w

It is an important safety feature which is essential to ensure switches and valves are correctly locked-out when you undertake maintenance or set-up electrical devices, machinery and equipment so work can be performed safely on machinery. 

Lock-out is a legal requirement for you to provide devices to start and stop equipment/machinery (lockout).

The OHSA regulations regarding Devices to Start and Stop Machinery/Equipment reads as follows:

6. (1) An employer or user of machinery shall provide devices to start and stop machinery, and these devices shall-

(a) be in a position where they can readily and conveniently be reached by the person who operates such machinery; and

(b) be so constructed and arranged as to prevent the accidental starting of such machinery.

(2) An employer or user of machinery shall provide positive means for rendering the controls of machinery driven by an electric motor inoperative while repairs or adjustments are being made, and such means shall not only be the mere tripping of a

switch.

Non-compliance with the regulations and someone is injured or dies, you could face a fine of up to R100 000, two years in jail or even both

The purpose of lockout is to:

  • Stop all energy flows, e.g., by turning off switches, or valves on supply lines;
  • Lock switches and valves; and
  • Secure the machine, device or power transmission line in a de-energised state, e.g., by applying blocks or blanks, or bleeding hydraulic or pneumatic pressure from lines.

If a lockout isn’t performed, uncontrolled energies could cause:

  • Electrocution (contact with live circuits)
  • Cuts, bruises, crushing, amputations, death, resulting from entanglement with belts, chains, conveyors, rollers, shafts and impellers
  • Entrapment by bulk materials from bins silos or hoppers, and
  • Drowning in liquids in vats or tanks
  • Burns (contact with hot parts, materials, or equipment such as furnaces);
  • Fires and explosions; and
  • Chemical exposures (gases or liquids released from pipelines).

It is important for an organisation to create a lockout policy by:

  • Identifying lockout situations
  • Creating lockout procedures
  • Training workers; and
  • Enforcing and updating the policy on a regular basis.