One of the requirements of OSHA’s standard on lockout/tagout, is that employers must provide training to employees so that the program is understood, and employees have the needed knowledge and skills to comply with the lockout/tagout program. The OSHA standard has defined what components are necessary for a successful training, therefore it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that personnel understand the appropriate components and how they apply to the company’s specific industry.
It is also important to recognize the different types of employees defined in the lockout/tagout standard, and ensure that each employee receives the appropriate training. An affected employee is one who might operate equipment, or work near equipment that requires lockout/tagout but does not service or maintain it. An authorized employee is the individual who would perform service or maintenance on a piece of equipment, and therefore be responsible to lock or tag it out. As a result, an affected employee should not lockout equipment, while an authorized employee must notify affected employees of the outage, and of the restoration to service of the equipment. Trainings should then discuss these differences, and make each type of employee aware of their specific responsibilities.
The standard goes on to discuss that authorized employees must be trained to be able to recognize hazardous energy sources. They need to understand how those sources might be labeled inside a plant, so that they are prepared to work with them. Further authorized employees need to understand what types of energy, and the magnitudes of each type available in the workplace, so that they are aware of the risks involved. Finally, they should be trained on how to isolate each type of energy source, to make sure it is controlled properly. Affected employees simply need to understand the purpose and use of the lockout/tagout procedures. It is vital that affected employees recognize that they must not interfere with equipment that has been locked out. All other employees who may pass through the area must also have general awareness of lockout/tagout and their responsibilities.
After employees have been trained adequately on their respective lockout/tagout responsibilities, it is necessary to complete an audit periodically, to ensure that the employee is still aware of their responsibilities, and to open up a discussion about any questions the employee may have regarding lockout/tagout. Further, it may be necessary to retrain an employee if the employer feels that their knowledge is inadequate regarding the lockout/tagout procedures. A retraining may also be necessary if an employee’s job responsibilities change, if equipment changes, or if a lockout/tagout procedure is updated.
Employers must also keep a record of employee trainings, and update the record if the employee is audited or retrained. By keeping a record of the employee’s name and dates of training, the employer can easily verify that the appropriate trainings have taken place, to ensure that the employees have the knowledge they need in order to safely perform their job responsibilities.
ESC Services has the tools and capabilities to help companies ensure that they meet the requirements for employee training of lockout/tagout policies. Contact us for help, or to request a quote for these services.