Large job sites have so many projects and workers operating at once, it can be difficult to maintain communication with all of them. Many accidents happen because one set of workers is unaware of the harm their actions may cause to another team.
Confined spaces entrants are already putting themselves into an area with known dangers. But it can get even more dangerous if machinery unexpectedly gets turned on, or tons of grain begins to fall on the head of you or your team. The key to controlling potentially hazardous energy sources such as these is to first identify potential problems and then take control of the energy source – whether it’s a switch, valve or other starting mechanism.
Lockout/Tagout (LO/TO) is the specific set of OSHA standards (1910.147) that require confined space entrants to secure a space from unexpectedly becoming more dangerous once they have entered.
In order to assure safety to your confined space team, you need to be sure you understand not only the hazards that are currently in an area, but also what potential there is for added danger if something were accidentally turned on or a gate unexpectedly opened.
LO/TO equipment such as tags, locks and switches are used to help control the situation by securing in an off position, or rendering unusable any machinery that might affect confined space entrants for the duration of their work.