In keeping with a mandate to provide a healthy and safe working environment for all of its employees, St Vincent Electricity Services Limited (VINLEC) has officially unveiled a Control of Hazardous Energy Programme Lockout-tagout (LOTO) Policy and Procedures Field Manual.
Lockout/tagout is a safety procedure used in industry settings to ensure that dangerous machines are properly shut off and not able to be started up again prior to the completion of maintenance or repair work.
The work activities include erecting, installing, constructing, repairing, adjusting, inspecting, unjamming, setting up, trouble-shooting, testing, cleaning, and dismantling machines, equipment or processes.
Lockout devices hold energy-isolation devices in a safe or “off” position. They provide protection by preventing machines or equipment from becoming energised because they are positive restraints that no one can remove without a key or other unlocking mechanism, or through extraordinary means, such as bolt cutters. Tagout devices, by contrast, are prominent warning devices that an authorised employee fastens to energy-isolating devices to warn employees not to reenergise the machine while he or she services or maintains it.
Over the past year, some members of staff from the Engineering Division were engaged in extensive training provided by JARIC Environment, Safety and Health Services Limited and in-house facilitators.
At the official launch on Monday, August 12, Chief Executive Officer, Thornley Myers noted that based on the Company’s operations, some employees are familiar with what obtains in the policy as they have been practicing some aspects of it. He noted that this is the formal document that will guide how the Company moves forward in this regard and encouraged those involved in the processes to familiarise themselves with the detailed and systematic manner in which they will now function.
Compliance with the lockout-tagout policy will help to prevent fatalities and injuries in the Company. Having this highly visible LOTO programme benefits both workers and employers through increased safety and productivity.
The LOTO programme applies to all employees of the Company and/or workers contracted by the Company who work on or near any equipment or system that produces, uses, or stores hazardous energy within and/or on all of the Company’s facilities.