When a forklift is unsafe to operate, employees can be seriously or fatally injured if the machinery they service/maintain unexpectedly energizes, starts up or releases stored energy. Employers must ensure that employees isolate machines from their energy sources and render them inoperative before any employee services or maintains them.
Energy sources in machines and equipment can be hazardous to workers. During the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment, the unexpected startup or release of stored energy could cause injury to employees.
Warehouse operations, to uphold safety, need a lockout/tagout program to prevent equipment from being accidentally energized and injuring employees.
Lockout devices hold energy-isolation devices in a safe or “off” position. This provides protection by preventing machines or equipment from becoming energized because they are positive restraints that no one can remove without a key or other unlocking mechanism.
Tagout devices are prominent warning devices that an authorized employee fastens to energy-isolating devices to warn employees not to reenergize the machine while he/she services or maintains it.
Before beginning lockout/tagout procedures, you should…
- Prepare for shutdown
- Shut down machine
- Disconnect or isolate the machine from the energy source(s)
- Apply the lockout or tagout device(s) to the energy-isolating device(s)
- Release, restrain or otherwise render safe all potential hazardous stored or residual energy
The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) suggests these requirements for lockout/tagout devices:
- Durable enough to withstand workplace conditions
- Standardized according to color, shape or size
- Substantial enough to minimize the likelihood of premature or accidental removal
- Labeled to identify the specific employees authorized to apply and remove them
Employees required to perform these operations should be trained and all of the employees should have a working knowledge of the procedures. Barclay offers safety programs that can help you learn how to properly carry out lockout/tagout procedures to keep your forklift work environment safe.