Preventing Worker Deaths from Uncontrolled Release of Electrical, Mechanical, and Other Types of Hazardous Energy


DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 99-110
cover of 87-116

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) requests assistance in preventing the death or injury of workers exposed to the unexpected or uncontrolled release of hazardous energy. In this Alert, hazardous energy is any type of energy in sufficient quantity to cause injury to a worker. Common sources of hazardous energy include electricity, mechanical motion, pressurized air, and hot and cold temperatures. Hazardous energy releases may occur during the installation, maintenance, service, or repair of machines, equipment, processes, or systems. Investigations conducted as part of the NIOSH Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program suggest that developing and following hazardous energy control procedures could prevent worker injuries and fatalities.

This Alert describes five fatal incidents in which workers contacted uncontrolled hazardous energy during installation, maintenance, service, or repair work. To prevent such deaths, the recommendations in this Alert should be followed by every employer, manager, supervisor, and worker who installs, maintains, services, or repairs machines, equipment, processes, or systems. NIOSH requests that trade journal editors, safety and health officials, and others responsible for worker safety and health bring this Alert to the attention of employers and workers who are at risk.