Lockout – Tagout (LOTO) is a safety procedure that ensures proper switching on or off and isolation before maintenance is completed. Moreover, by properly performing LOTO procedures, workers can be protected from hazardous energy releases, serious physical harm, or death.
For this reason, if the requirements of LOTO procedures are not seriously implemented, employees can be severely suffered from injury or death from uncontrolled machinery and equipment.
- What is Lockout – Tagout (LOTO)?
- What are the benefits of LOTO?
- What is Lockout – Tagout (LOTO)?
Lockout – Tagout (LOTO) is a set of safety practices and procedures used to ensure that harmful machine or equipment is properly shut down, inoperable, and powered off. In fact, this requires an authorized employee turns off and disconnects machine or equipment powered by hazardous energy sources. As a result, reducing the risks posed by potential energy during the performance of any maintenance or adjustments.
The Importance of Lockout Tagout Procedures
1. Ensure safe working procedures for the workers
By implementing LOTO procedures properly, unexpected energization, startup of machinery, or equipment can be avoided while maintenance or servicing activities are performed. As a result, workers will be adequately protected against serious accidents or significant chemical releases, at the same time, keep the workplace safe against fire hazards.
2. Prevent all equipment, machine from hazardous energy release
Following LOTO procedures carefully can help optimize the operation and maintenance of a machine properly. In fact, by reducing the time it takes for maintenance tasks to be safely completed, the safety of a machine and its throughput can be improved. Thus, controlling the release of hazardous energy.
3. Ensure compliance with Lockout Tagout procedures
Having documented Lock out tag out procedures that are both comprehensive and compliant leads to a safer workplace, thereby reducing concerns about safety violations, serious consequences or fines.
4. Increase productivity by organiZing proper lockout tagout procedures
The LOTO procedures allow your authorized employees to lockout equipment and restore it to service more quickly. That can lead to more equipment availability, less time spent by the authorized employee at the same time, less equipment/process downtime.
Standard Lockout Tagout Procedures
With the aim to ensuring the implementation of Lockout Tagout procedures is conducted properly, the following steps should be considered carefully to monitor, mitigate, and manage the risks.
1. Locking out equipment
Before starting equipment maintenance:
- Firstly, identify the correct procedure used
- Secondly, notify potentially affected workers about the lockout
- Thirdly, locate all energy sources in use
- Then, shut down the machine or equipment normally
- After that, lockout and tag all energy isolating devices
- Additionally, release, disconnect or restrain any remaining energy
- Finally, in this process, verify that the machine or device is unpowered.
2. Returning to normal work
Before resuming normal work:
- First of all, check the equipment and area for loose parts or tools
- Then, ensure all workers are in safe places
- Later, verify that the equipment controls are in “off” or “neutral” position
- Meanwhile, remove lockout and tag devices and reconnect energy sources
- Subsequently, notify the equipment will be starting up
- Last but not least, LOTO procedure is complete, normal work may resume
Effective Guidelines to Improve LOTO Procedures
1. Establish an equipment inventory
It’s essential to build an advanced equipment inventory where LOTO devices used for critical industrial machines can be stored. Above all, this will help company save money on corrective maintenance while protecting workers from unsafe equipment.
2. Document all procedures
It is essential to have formal documentation regarding the lockout and tagout procedures. As a result, a consensus between workers and management can be formed. So contribute to creating a valuable training resource.
3. Clearly mark all isolation points
All energy control points should be clearly marked with standardized and easily visible tags or labels. Therefore, ensuring all energy isolation points are in line with machine-specific procedures.
4. Develop a rigorous training program
Effective training is an integral part of a successful lockout program. It can be challenged since all workplaces and workforce need to be trained according to their specific needs.
5. Evaluate for improvement
Evaluation is to ensure that training exercises, procedures, and equipment are working properly. It also provides an opportunity to make improvements that may not have been apparent during the training stage.
In conclusion, Lockout Tagout is an important procedure when it comes to workplace safety in any occupational setting. Similarly, it refers to specific procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment. By following the procedures of Lockout Tagout, employees will be adequately protected against seriously or fatally injured because of machinery that they operate or maintain unexpectedly energizes, starts up, or releases stored energy.