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National Day of Mourning

On April 28th, organizations across Canada will again mark the National Day of Mourning, an annual observance to honour workers whose lives have been lost or affected by workplace injuries, disabilities or disease. In recognition of this observance, ELS reminds all workers to be safe and use proper lockout/ tagout procedures. Most people immediately think of electricity as a potentially hazardous energy source, however, there are other sources of energy that can be just as hazardous. These energy sources include thermal, chemical, pneumatic, hydraulic, mechanical and gravity.

It is important to remember that all sources of energy have the potential to unexpectedly start-up, energize or release must be identified and locked, blocked or released before servicing or maintenance is performed. If a lockout is not performed, uncontrolled energies could cause:

. Electrocution (contact with live circuits)

. Cuts, bruises, crushing, amputation, death resulting from entanglement with belts, chains, conveyors, rollers shafts, impellers
. Entrapment by bulk materials from bins, silos or hoppers
. Drowning in liquids in vats or tanks
. Burns (contact with hot parts, materials or equipment such as furnaces)
. Fires and explosions
. Chemical exposures (gases or liquids released from pipelines)

Often power sources are inadvertently turned on or valves opened mistakenly before the work is completed, resulting in serious injuries and fatalities. Therefore, it is important not only to ensure all energies are properly locked out, but also that they remain locked out until the work is completed.
Regardless of the type of equipment, lockout/tagout must always consist of the following steps:

. Preparation for shutdown (communication to affected workers)
. Equipment shutdown (turning activation controls to off)
. Equipment isolation from energy source (disconnecting, unplugging, blanking, blocking, etc)
. Application of lockout/tagout devices (ensuring unintended energizing of equipment)
. Release of stored energy, de-energization (bleeding lines, dumping air, draining current)
. Verification of isolation (try to start equipment)
. Release from lockout/tagout control (once work is complete), including removal of lockout/tagout devices, general cleanup and restoration of energy to machinery/equipment.