Skip to main content

Developed and maintained
by the NFCC

Control measure

Isolate power supplies for on-site machinery

Control measure knowledge

On-site machinery may still be operating when the fire and rescue service arrives. Personnel should liaise with on-site staff to identify where and how to isolate the on-site machinery, and to consider the implications of isolating power supplies to it. Keeping processes going may support fire and rescue service operations, for example, by reducing the volume of material that could be affected by the incident.

Power supplies to on-site machinery may include:

  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Pneumatics
  • Hydraulics
  • Kinetic, for example, windmills and watermills

Industries will use various methods for isolating power supplies. Some types of machinery may take a considerable time to isolate and in some circumstances it may not be possible to prevent reactivation.  Isolating power supplies to machinery may have an impact on the business – some on-site machinery may be damaged by emergency isolation.

Isolating power supplies to machinery may have an impact on the business; some on-site machinery may be damaged by emergency isolation. 

The power supply for the machinery may be remote from the equipment. Instructions may be displayed for isolating the power supply or using manual controls.

Isolating power supplies may involve using:

  • A tag out system - where a warning tag is attached to the power controls once in a safe position (off or closed), but reactivation may be possible
  • A lock out system - where a padlock or bolt is used to prevent reactivation

When on-site machinery has been isolated, a robust system should be implemented to ensure it is not restarted until agreed by the incident commander.

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Ensure details about power supplies are included in Site-Specific Risk Information (SSRI)
  • Ensure that information about emergency isolation of on-site machinery is included in Site-Specific Risk Information (SSRI)

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Liaise with the responsible person (or nominated competent person) to assist with the isolation of on-site machinery

  • Consider Isolating power supplies to on-site machinery

  • Identify on-site machinery that will require a period of time to be isolated
  • Seek specialist advice if there is any doubt about the isolation of machinery
  • Implement a robust system to ensure on-site machinery that has been isolated is not inadvertently restarted