IDESCO Safety Blog

Circuit Breaker Lockouts

     Within the OSHA Lockout:Tagout  regulation, 1910.147 is this prominent paragraph: The Definition of an Energy Isolating Device: A mechanical device that physically prevents the transmission or release of energy, including but not limited to the following: A manually operated electrical circuit breaker; a disconnect switch; a manually operated switch by which the conductors of a circuit can be disconnected from all ungrounded supply conductors and, in addition no pole can be operated independently; a line valve; a block and any similar device used to block or isolate energy. Push buttons, selector switches and other control circuit type devices are not energy isolating devices. This has led to a myriad of circuit breaker lockout solutions. Factories throughout the United States, in fact the world, now have a variety of lockout solutions for their single pole and multi-pole circuit breakers.

Preventing an automatic restart with safe start devices

Often times electrical equipment being used in a factory operation may suddenly shut down. This may be due to an internal power malfunction, a local power plant problem, a sudden jam in a gear, just to name a few. When this type of unintentional shut down takes place, it is extremely important to insure that the equipment does not suddenly start up again. Such an event may catch employees by surprise and lead to a serious accident. The Sensing Saf-Start device automatically “opens” the circuit once there is a sudden power loss. The circuit will remain “open” as long as the equipment power switch is “on.” Once the power switch is turned “off”, the Sensing Saf-Start device will then close the circuit. At that point, with everyone aware that the equipment can now be safely restarted, the power switch can be turned “on” and normal operation resumed.

Lock Wrap Labels for Padlocks

In September of 1989, The OSHA Lockout:Tagout Regulation CFR1910.147 went into effect. It clearly stated that equipment being serviced had to be completely shut down and had to be both "Locked Out" and "Tagged Out" (with the tag firmly attached to the lock) clearly identifying the person or persons involved in that servicing operation. Furthermore, to insure the tag could not inadvertently slip off, tear off or somehow be removed from the padlock, both the tag and the device used to attach it to the padlock had to be strong enough to "pull" 50 pounds. And thus, the LockWrap(R) Padlock Label was created. The LockWrap acts as a tag and is wrapped securely around the padlock and cannot be removed.

Fuse Blockouts and Latchouts

Section (c) (5)(i) of Lockout Regulation CFR 1910.147 states that Locks, tags, chains, wedges, key blocks, adapter pins, self-locking fasteners, or other hardware shall be provided by the employer for isolating, securing or blocking of machines or equipment from energy sources. Fuse holders and fuse panels are types of energy systems that are difficult to lockout. In order to satisfy the OSHA rule, devices have been devised that “blockout and “latchout” these energy sources. These devices keeps the electrical energy systems “OPEN” with no way for electrical energy to be reconnected. However, as there is no latch on these devices, there not be a padlock to insure that these devices will not be removed. 

Confined Space Signs and Tags

     The OSHA Confined Space Regulation, CFR1910.146 is designed to prevent accidents to employees when working in a space where one has limited or restricted access for entry or exit and while in that area might meet up with liquids, gases or obstacles. Thus, a person entering a confined space must be fully trained in the hazards to be faced and must wear the appropriate protective clothing. The area is also constantly monitored for air quality. Before entering a confined space area, one has to receive a “Confined Space Permit.” To help the process along, a series of signs and tags have been created. They contain proper procedures to follow, Caution and Danger announcements as well as directions for those both entering the area or assisting in the operation.

No Smoking Signs

A smoke-free workplace has many advantages. It reduces the amount of smoking by employees. It also protects others from the dangers of second-hand smoke. Furthermore, for the employer, it significantly reduces health care costs. People exposed to smoke in the workplace are 17% more likely to develop lung cancer.

OSHA does not have any regulations that apply directly to smoking in the workplace. However OSHA does have standards which limit the exposure levels of a number of chemicals. And many of the chemicals are found in tobacco smoke. They include but are not limited to limits on carbon monoxide, nicotine, sulfur dioxide, ammonia, nitric oxide, formaldehyde and arsenic. So essentially these require that is no smoking or very limited smoking take place in the workplace. In addition, employers do have a legal right to both restrict and also prohibit completely the use of tobacco.  In some cases, of course, especially when flammable materials or hazardous machinery is present, it is imperative that smoking be prohibited.

To ensure regulations are followed and workplace safety improved, a number of workplace signs have been created. For example where chemicals are used the following essential signs should be posted: DANGER, OXYGEN, NO SMOKING, NO OPEN FLAMES; DANGER, BENZENE, CANCER HAZARD, FLAMMABLE – NO SMOKING, AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY. RESPIRATOR REQUIRED!

In areas where lead is present: WARNING, LEAD WORK AREA, POISON!! NO SMOKING OR EATING. That sign may also include a skeleton symbol.

When smoking is allowed in some places, a sign may announce: NO SMOKING EXCEPT IN DESIGNATED AREAS. 

Or some prefer low-key signs, such as:  THANK YOU FOR NOT SMOKING. Those signs may include the standard symbol of a cigarette within a circle with a diagonal red line going through it.

In work areas populated by multilingual employees the sign may be in more than one language. An example of that kind of sign might state: NO SMOKING, NO FUMAR.

Signs may be constructed of durable vinyl, with pressure-sensitive backing (for adhering to walls or doors), tough rigid plastic, or the most durable of all, anodized aluminum signs.

Idesco Safety’s Label Lockout Hasps

In many industrial zones and factories, employers are required by law to establish and implement a lockout/tagout program as mandated by OSHA. Workers performing service or maintenance on machinery and equipment may be exposed to injuries from the unexpected energy start up of the machinery or equipment, or release of stored energy in the equipment. The purpose of this program is to raise awareness of workplace safety and prevent accidents and injuries from occurring on the job.


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