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Hazardous energy controls in the workplace


Hazardous energy controls in the workplace

Hazardous energy continues to be a problem for workers in South Carolina and across the United States. In fact, the failure to control hazardous energy accounts for almost 10 percent of serious accidents nationwide, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Around 3 million workers are put at risk by hazardous energy in the U.S. The most prevalent professions include electricians, machine operators and craft workers. South Carolina workers can be killed or injured if they attempt to service or perform maintenance on machines or equipment without hazardous energy first being placed under control. Potential injuries include electrocution, crush injuries, burns, laceration, cuts, fractures and even amputations. Workers who are injured due to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 days of work as they recover.

Currently, OSHA requires a zero-risk approach to preventing hazardous energy injuries. This means completely shutting down machinery before it is serviced or maintained, a process known as lockout/tagout. However, some experts believe that method may be outdated and some modern equipment may be better controlled through alternative methods. Businesses wishing to create a hazardous energy control program should conduct a thorough risk assessment and use the results to create a system that best fits their needs.

South Carolina employees who suffer workplace injuries including electrocution or burns may be eligible to file for workers’ compensation benefits. They cover medical costs and help with other financial obligations while a worker recovers from an injury. Workers’ compensation benefits are time-sensitive and require careful documentation. As a result, some workers find it helpful to seek the guidance of an attorney while preparing their claim.