Circuit Breaker Lockouts


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.

     Many single pole circuit breaker lockouts have small “stems” that fit into the corresponding holes within the circuit breakers. That insures a tight fit when the lockout is secured onto the breaker. The lockout is also configured to accommodate a padlock. Where circuit breakers do not have a place for the lockout stems to fit and secure the breaker, another type of lockout, the “no-hole” circuit breaker lockouts are required. In these situations, the no-hole breaker clamps on to the switch tongue of the breaker. A thumbscrew then is used to tighten the clamp. These lockouts come with covers. And the covers are then closed over the lockouts and the breakers. Padlocks are then applied, effectively locking out the breakers involved.

     Multi-pole breakers are secured with a lockout that clamps over the tie-bar. A thumbscrew then tightens the clamp. Finally a padlock secures the lockout and the breaker.

     Lockout:Tagout is not limited to the United States. Similar regulations can be found throughout the world. For example, the British version is known as “Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 Energy, Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, Regulation 13.

European as well as Asian circuit breakers tend to be smaller than those used in the United States. The specially designed “Miniature Breaker Lockouts are “pin” style. The “pins” are easily installed with their “push-button” top. There are miniature breakers designed for both single pole and multi-pole devices. These lockouts require a smaller, lightweight padlock. However the effect is the same. The breakers are locked out.

     As with all equipment that is locked out, a safety tag has to accompany the lockout device. The tag should include the phrase “DO NOT OPERATE, EQUIPMENT LOCKED OUT.” Then and only then is the lockout regulation followed properly.

 

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