Each year, an average of 1,000 work accidents occur in Quebec. Of those accidents, there have been 4 deaths caused by inadvertent releases of hazardous energy during installation, maintenance, repairs or unblocking work. Most of these accidents could have been avoided by the application of proper prevention measures such as the implementation of a lockout program.
According to the new RSST regulation, sub-section specific to lockout and other methods of energy control (RSST 188), your organization must have a lockout program, including all procedures and documents describing the lockout work sequence and unlocking process. Each procedure must include the same elements as those provided for in the Canadian standard CAN/CSA Z460-13, Control of hazardous energy – Lockout and other methods.
In addition to being an obligation of the standard CSA Z460-13, the drafting of a lockout program helps keep trace of the procedures to follow when it comes to lockout. Furthermore, it helps structure the procedure and facilitates the communication of instructions and internal regulations to workers and employees.
10 essential tools for a successful lockout program
1. Lockout procedure
The lockout procedure is an essential part of the lockout program. It is based on a risk analysis in which duly trained personnel participates. Afterward, the procedure is validated to ensure its efficiency before being approved by a representative of the employer. Then, it is made available to the workers for reference at any time. Therefore, this is not a document created in a rush, but instead a reliable reference tool in which the content is not left to chance.
- It is mandatory to have procedures and make them accessible;
- The procedure directs workers on the lockout method to be used;
- It identify risks and protection means;
- Helps avoiding unnecessary loss of time and make the intervention more efficient; Take the time to adequately define the model and how to use it (with or without signature? Pictures? Format? Management software or Word? Etc.).
2. Risk analysis grid
As previously mentioned, the lockout procedure is the outcome of the risk analysis. The analysis grid is an efficient tool to simplify and structure this analysis.
- Helps organize and facilitate the risk analysis and the creation of lockout procedures;
- Helps structure notes;
- Helps standardize the records and procedures, and comply with established standards;
- Helps being efficient in the field and lose as little time as possible during analysis.
3. Registry of loaned padlocks
A registry of loaned padlocks is mandatory prior to loaning a personal padlock to a worker or subcontractor on a temporary basis. This record must at least contain: name and contact information of the worker, date and time of loan and return, and padlock number. If a subcontractor, add the name and contact information of the employer.
4. Padlocks removal form
A padlocks removal form is mandatory to remove a padlock forgotten by a worker. It is also a reminder of the approach to apply. Once filled out and signed, this document must be kept by the employer for at least one year.
5. Personal padlocks
Mandatory according to the standard CAN/CSA Z460-13, it is mandatory for workers to have their own personal padlocks and it must be identified to its owner.
6. Energy padlock
Using this type of padlock is part of the best practices as it allows streamlined lockout when there are several types of energy sources or many workers. You must install an energy padlock on energy sources that need to be locked out. The key of the padlocks have to be put in the lockout station, and each worker installs his personal padlock. You might have a series of several padlocks with one key for the entire series.
7. Department padlock
A department padlock helps appropriately manage the following situations: shift changes, work over several days, condemn or winterize equipment, etc. This padlock can be installed on the lockout station or directly on the equipment and the key has to be managed by the person responsible for the lockout or the supervisor on shift.
8. Stations, lockout box and accessories
Stations and lockout boxes allow a better organization of the lockout material and can be centralized or decentralized in the workplace to allow quick access to accessories. The lockout box can be mobile or fixed according to the needs, and the hasp (or multiple clips) allows multiple worker to lock themselves up at the same time (allow the installation of several padlocks). Accessories are essential to lockout a valve or any other device that would not be possible to lockout any other way.
9. Work tags
Tags allow the follow-up of the ongoing work and helps forwarding certain information (for example, if the procedure must be modified or updated) and lets you know who is responsible for the lockout and make work more efficient.
10: Procedure management software
A procedure management software allows a better management of procedures and follow-up of the project. It reduces the loss of time related to the formatting of Word or Excel procedures, allows the follow-up of versions and maintains standardization. Finally, a procedure management software allows to maintain and control access to procedures.
New features in the management software for lockout procedures recommended by SPI Health and Safety:
- Add a general picture of the equipment;
- Add several pictures at each step;
- Add statement to document lockout preparation as well as return to service;
- Follow-up the installation of procedures in the field with the mention of “Installed by” (filter);
- Add the watermark “Not approved” on the procedure.