Our safety topic series aims to help raise awareness of safety topics that are important to ensure a safe workplace for Mauser employees, contractors and visitors. While these topics are important for all Mauser employees, more detailed training is made available to facility employee through formal training programs, audits and Toolbox Talks.
Electrical safety awareness and following proper lockout/tagout procedures are critical aspects of maintaining a safe workplace. Employees servicing or maintaining machines or equipment may be exposed to serious physical harm or death if hazardous energy is not properly controlled.
Energy sources including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other 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 can result in serious injury or death to workers. Injuries resulting from the failure to control hazardous energy during maintenance activities can be serious or fatal. Injuries may include electrocution, burns, crushing, cutting, lacerating, amputating, or fracturing body parts, and others.
To protect Mauser employees from the hazardous energy, Mauser includes Energy Isolation as one of our primary Life Saving Rules. As with all Life Saving Rules, any violation of our Energy Isolation policy or procedures will be strictly enforces and may result in termination on the first offense. In addition to standard training and awareness of energy hazards and because of the need to understand all forms of energy, and how to safely control them, Mauser Packaging Solutions uses a standard format to warn and advise, called an Energy Control Procedure or ECP for short. The procedure will use pictures, symbols and labels to clearly identify energy sources, control methods (switches, valves, couplings, etc.), and energy isolation devices needed in addition to other important safety instructions.
Understanding the risk and knowing how to properly perform work when energy is present are the first steps toward protecting yourself and others from injury. The primary program used to prevent energy related incidents is called Lock-out/Tag-out, or LOTO for short. The name comes from the requirement to identify and isolate all forms of hazardous energy and then put a “Lock” on the devices that control that energy to ensure no one but the person working on machinery can release them. The “Tag” part comes from the requirement to place a tag with the lock so that everyone knows who is working on the machine with an important warning not to interfere or attempt to re-start it.
Machinery and equipment must always be locked-out and tagged before service or maintenance activity is performed. Generally speaking, LOTO is needed anytime a guard must be removed or a safety device bypassed to gain access to machinery. In most cases clearing a jam or misfeed requires LOTO unless special protections are provided including electronic safeguards following an Energy Safe Task procedure.
We can significantly improve our efforts to ensure no employee, contractor, or visitor is ever harmed by an electrical hazard by following two basic principles:
- Never remove or by pass a guard or safety device, open up a panel or enclosure, make a tooling change, or place any body part into machinery or equipment unless you have been authorized to do so and only when following established Energy Control Procedures.
- Never attempt to start or touch equipment or machinery that is marked with a LOTO tag. Never attempt to remove a lock and isolation device even if you think it was left in error. Try to locate the Authorized Employee whose name is on the tag or notify a supervisor.
In some cases, misfeeds and minor adjustments, inspection, or testing may be allowed without full LOTO when access is provided through interlocked doors, safety gates, light curtains or other special safeguards. Training will be provided in those cases where such access is permitted. If there is ever doubt about whether LOTO is needed, proceed on the side of caution and follow LOTO procedure if there is the slightest chance that energy is present.
Electrical safety awareness is an important issue at Mauser Packaging Solutions. Some of the most serious workplace injuries at Mauser Packaging Solutions over the past two years could have been prevented by shutting down the machine properly and securing it with a lock.
All Mauser employees, regardless of job role or tenure has an ethical responsibility to know and abide by the policies and procedures regarding electrical safety awareness. As a company, we are committed to providing the infrastructure, training and resources to ensure employees are provided with a safe work environment and the knowledge required to perform job tasks without harm. But each and every one of us shares the responsibility of making sure everyone goes home to their family’s safe daily. We can achieve this by following the safety procedures that are in place and taking personal ownership for ensuring safety is an important element in every decision we make.