OHS Code Explanation Guide

Published Date: July 01, 2009
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Part 15 Managing the Control of Hazardous Energy

Section 215.2 Securing remotely controlled systems

Where machinery, equipment, piping, pipeline, or a process system is such that energy-isolating devices are in remote or non-contiguous locations, e.g. process control equipment is located 200 kilometres away from the computer that controls it, the securing process must still provide a level of protection that is equivalent to securing by individual workers (section 214), securing by a group (section 215), or securing by a complex group process (section 215.1). To achieve this level of protection, a control system isolating device must be used in combination with written authorizations and safe work procedures. The goal is to ensure that workers performing the work verify effective isolation through direct communication with the isolating authority designated by the employer.

A control system isolating device must physically prevent activation of remotely controlled equipment. In the case of a computer-controlled system, a password or series of passwords does not physically prevent activation of the control system. Before defaulting to using control system isolating devices, the employer should consider more traditional alternatives, including rendering the equipment inoperative. If the alternatives are not possible or practicable, examples of how to physically prevent activation of the control system include

(a) locking out the ports on the computer(s) to prevent control devices such as a keyboard or mouse from being used, and
(b) locking out the room in which the controlling computer(s) is located.