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A pre-job briefing (sometimes called a tailgate meeting) is a meeting which informs all workers of the job requirements. In particular a pre-job briefing is used to alert workers to potential safety hazards. A pre-job briefing need not be a formal gathering; however, it is mandatory that all workers involved attend, and worker attendance should be documented.

What Should Be Included?

OSHA rules require that a pre-job briefing discuss, at a minimum, the following issues: Special precautions to be taken Hazards associated with the job Energy control procedures Procedures and Policies Personal Protective Equipment Note that the first letters of each of these bulleted items form the acronym SHEPP, which can be used to help remember the important issues that need to be discussed. Pre-job briefings should be proactive meetings in which workers are informally quizzed to make certain that they fully understand the safety issues that they will face.

When Should Pre-Job Briefings Be Held?

At the beginning of each shift At the beginning of any new job Any time that job conditions change When new personnel are introduced to an ongoing job

The Fundamental Rules

All regulatory standards are quite clear in their requirements to de-energize a circuit before employees work on or near it. Stated simply: All circuits and components to which employees may be exposed should be deenergized before work begins. A few basic points will clarify this requirement: Production or loss of production is never an acceptable, sole reason to work on or near an energized circuit. Work that can be rescheduled to be done de-energized should be rescheduled. De-energized troubleshooting is always preferred over energized troubleshooting. The qualified employee doing the work, must always make the final decision as to whether the circuit is to be deenergized. Such a decision must be free of any repercussions from supervision and management.

A Hot-Work Decision Tree

1. Work performed on or near circuits of less than 50 V to ground may usually be considered to be de-energized work. Note that if the circuit has high arcing capability, decision should be answered as a Yes. 2. If de-energizing simply changes the hazard from one type to another, or if it actually increases the degree of hazard. This decision should be answered Yes. The following additional hazards that should be considered in answering this decision: Interruption of life-support systems Deactivation of emergency alarms Shutdown of ventilation to hazardous locations Removal of illumination from the work area 3. The need to keep production up is common to all industries manufacturing, petrochemical, mining, steel,

aluminum, and electrical power systems. However, many employers abuse the concept that production must continue. The following points should clarify when production issues may be allowed to influence the decision to de-energize. a. Shutdown of a continuous process that will add extraordinary collateral costs may be a signal to work on the circuit energized. b. Shutdown of a simple system which does not introduce the types of problems should always be undertaken rather than allowing energized work. 4. In some cases, the very nature of the work or the equipment requires that the circuit remain energized. The most common examples of such work are Testing electrical circuits (to verify de-energization, for example) Troubleshooting complex controls Infrared scan. Note, however that this work should still be de-energized if it is possible to do it that way. For example, troubleshooting a motor starter may be faster with the circuit energized; however, if it can be done de-energized it should be, even at the cost of a little more time. 5. If decisions 2 or 3 lead in the direction of energized work, the next decision should be rescheduling. If energized work can be done de-energized on a different shift or at a later time, it should be postponed. Many companies miss this elegantly simple alternative to exposing their personnel to hazardous electrical energy. 6. The final, and arguably the most important, decision of all is to determine whether the work can be done safely. If, in the opinion of the qualified personnel assessing the job, the work is simply too dangerous to do with the circuits energized, then it must be deenergized..

After the Decision Is Made If the work must be done energized, all employees who work on or near energized conductors must be qualified to do the work, must use appropriate personal protective equipment, and must use appropriate safety-related work practices. If the circuits are to be de-energized, the steps listed are as follows: The most basic safety procedure is to de-energize the parts of the system to which workers may be exposed. This procedure virtually eliminates the hazards of shock, arc, and blast. Deenergizing, also called clearing, involves more than simply turning the switches off. To ensure maximum safety, de-energizing procedures that are precise for each situation should be written. The following sections discuss the proper safety techniques for operation of various types of equipment and provide deenergizing and reenergizing procedures which may be used as the basis for the development of site-specific procedures. Please note that specific procedures may vary depending on the application and type of equipment. Refer to manufacturers and/or local facility procedures for specific information. The methods given in these sections should be considered minimum requirements. These procedures assume that the device is being operated when one or both sides are energized.

Caution: Switching of electric power should only be carried out by qualified personnel who are familiar with the equipment and trained to recognize and avoid the safety hazards associated with that equipment.

Non-load-interrupting devicesthat is, devices which are not intended to interrupt any currentshould never be used to interrupt current flow.

Steps Required Before De-Energized Work May Commence

1. All energy control devices feeding the work area must be opened. 2. Locks and tags shall be placed on the energy control devices. 3. Voltage measurements shall be made at the point(s) of exposure to verify that the circuit is de-energized. 4. Safety grounds (if required) shall be placed to ensure the existence of an equipotential work zone. 5. The work area must be closely inspected by a qualified person to make certain that no energized parts remain. This critical step is often missed.