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Workplace safety policies for hazardous energy control

Louisiana employees who work around hazardous energy face serious risks on the job. If hazardous energy is not properly controlled while machinery is being used, repaired and maintained, a worker could be injured or even killed. To prevent hazardous energy accidents, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has written safety standards for the general industry called "Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)".

OSHA promotes a policy of using a zero risk blanket approach to controlling hazardous energy. According to OSHA, a zero risk approach in which machinery is completely shut down in between uses is necessary to keep workers safe when they are working around hazardous energy on a regular basis. Every day, there are about 3 million workers in the United States who are routinely servicing machinery with hazardous energy. These workers lose about 24 workdays each time they are injured in a hazardous energy accident.

Some people argue that OSHA's zero risk policy is outdated, and a new safety policy should be written that takes updates in technology into account. A new ANSI standard for hazardous energy control has been written that differs from the OSHA standard. The ANSI standard is focused more on energy controls that can be built into machines rather than lockout/tagout procedures that rely on employers and workers to be effective.

Workers that are injured in hazardous energy accidents typically lose more than three weeks of income. For many people, that can be a financial crisis. An attorney may be able to help a worker in this situation to pursue reimbursement for some of that lost income by filing a workers' compensation claim. If a hazardous energy accident was caused by a defective piece of equipment, it could also be possible to file a separate lawsuit against the non-employer third party manufacturer.

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