Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Are You Actually ISOLATING Your Electrical Energy?


When we inspect equipment, one of the things we always check is the presence and state of the electrical disconnect.  You may ask why this is important, after all, it is just a switch. However, a proper disconnect allows your workers to follow safety procedures. Any time a worker must enter a hazard zone outside of normal operation, such as during set up, adjustment, cleaning and maintenance tasks, the machine shall be locked out. If a machine does not have an accessible, lockable isolation point how will your workers perform lockout? Your workers are not given the tools they need to work safely.


Control switches do not isolate the flow of energy, they only interrupt it. It is crucial to ensure you are using a device that actually isolates the energy by maintaining sufficient physical space between contactors, eliminating the chance for a fused or arced contact and accidental start up.


Old disconnects allow the switch to be locked in both the ON and OFF positions. Having this functionality opens up the possibility for someone to make a mistake. We have seen it happen before, an experienced worker accidentally locks the machine ON instead of OFF. That is why it is required to have disconnects that are lockable in the OFF position only.


Take a walk through your shop and look for the following on each machine:


  1. Does the machine have a disconnect to isolate power?
  2. Is the disconnect is good working condition?
  3. Is the disconnect labelled?
  4. Is the disconnect accessible?
  5. Is the disconnect lockable in the off position only?
electrical disconnect lockable in on and off
This disconnect is lockable in the on & off positions.
electrical switch not isolation    push button lockout not isolation
These controls interupt energy but do not isolate.
electrical disconnect lockable on only  electrical disconnect lockable on only
These are proper electrical isolation disconnects.



Posted by Kristin Petaski at 9:46 AM


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