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New Control of Hazardous Energy Procedure

A recent assessment of SLAC's Control of Hazardous Energy (CoHE) Program (frequently referred to as "lock-out/tag-out") by the Office of Assurance found, among other things, that there are still personnel who lack a complete understanding of the hazards of equipment they service or maintain and that group lockout requirements are not always well understood.

SLAC is responding to these concerns because we recognize that the protection of our workers from injury due to the unexpected release of hazardous energy is of paramount importance. In addition, requirements for control of hazardous energy are specified in several different regulations, and understanding how they apply to a complex facility like SLAC can be challenging.

To help address these concerns, a working group called the Control of Hazardous Energy Action Team (CoHEAT) is seeking to address deficiencies that exist in our hazardous energy control program ("lock-out/tag-out"). This team has developed a new process and procedure that will now be used to reduce the likelihood of accidents due to the unexpected release of hazardous energy—whether electrical or non-electrical (e.g. pressure, mechanical, chemical, and so on). The CoHEAT will also be working to update our Environment, Safety and Health (ES&H) Manual and related electrical safety courses to include these new requirements.

This procedure requires that no service or maintenance will be performed on machines or equipment without first being analyzed for hazardous energy, and if required, without the preparation of a written equipment lockout procedure (ELP). Affected service and maintenance activities can include constructing, installing, setting up, adjusting, inspecting, modifying and maintaining and/or servicing machines or equipment with stored hazardous energy.

To help accomplish this, all applicable SLAC machines and equipment must be assigned an equipment custodian. The equipment custodian shall be responsible for ensuring that the machine or equipment has been evaluated for potentially hazardous energy (including stored and residual energy) and that a compliant written equipment lockout procedure is available to any person needing to perform service or maintenance on his or her equipment.

All departments/groups with employees that perform this maintenance and service work will be conducting meetings with these employees to review the new procedure, which can be found on the ES&H website. The members of the CoHEAT are available to help answer any questions on this new procedure or SLAC's CoHE Program.

Brian Sherin and Fred Jones, SLAC Today, May 27, 2008