The hazards of stored energy in the workplace
When a Pennsylvania worker is servicing or maintaining a machine, the release of stored energy could cause a serious injury. The injury could be caused by the release of steam from a valve or an electrical short that shocks a worker. Each year, there are 3 million workers who service machines and are exposed to hazardous injury. Those workers spend an average of 24 workdays recovering in the event that they are hurt.
As many as 10 percent of such injuries occur because there is no hazardous energy protection. One such way to protect against injuries is to have a good procedure in place for disabling the machines. Employers are responsible for training their workers on how to safely service or maintain machines. Workers should also be monitored to ensure that they understand the procedures at all times, and that they can safely use and replace energy control devices.
Furthermore, employers are expected to adhere to OSHA regulations related to containing such energy. Employers are also responsible for retraining employees if procedures or methods change. Employees should never be able to restart any equipment that has been tagged or locked out, and they should be able to control and isolate energy if necessary for their safety.
Most employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for the protection of those who are injured on the job or who become ill due to workplace conditions. Benefits available thereunder can include the furnishing of medical care and treatment and the replacement of a percentage of lost wages. An attorney who has experience with these matters can often be of assistance in preparing the claim and in ensuring that it is filed on a timely basis.