Energy sources such as electricity, chemical, pneumatic, hydraulic, mechanical and many others can be hazardous to workers. During the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment, the unexpected startup or release of stored energy can result in serious injury or death to workers. By having an effective Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) program in place, your organization can give your employees a set of tools to work safely and also maintain compliance with OSHA regulations and standards as well as your company’s specific requirements and policies.
Lockout is the placement of a lockout device on an energy isolation device, in accordance with an established procedure, ensuring the equipment being controlled cannot be operated until lockout device is removed.
Tagout is the placement of a tagout device on an energy isolating device, in accordance with an established procedure, to indicate that the equipment may not be operated until tagout device is removed.
Why is it important to have an effective LOTO program?
Many organizations may have a LOTO program in place; however, it can be outdated, training may be inconsistent or not enforced, and worse yet, can be fragmented where only a few procedures are completed at a time. To truly protect employees from injury and incidents, employers must create a program that develops, documents, and uses procedures to control potential hazardous energy. These procedures also explain what employees must know and do to control hazardous energy when they service or maintain machinery.
What does a comprehensive LOTO program include?
An effective Lockout/Tagout energy control program consists of:
- Energy Control Procedures (ECP) for affixing appropriate lockout devices and/or tagout devices to energy isolation devices
- PHASE I – Process Review and Data Collection
- PHASE II – Energy Control Procedure (ECP) Development
- PHASE III – Final Review and Delivery
- Employee training on hazards or hazardous energy and lockout tagout procedures, policies, and equipment
- Periodic audits of the system (at least annually) to verify that ECPs are accurate, and that employees can demonstrate proper energy isolation of equipment to perform servicing and maintenance.
Learn How to Develop the Right LOTO Program for Your Organization
According to OSHA, using lockout/tagout procedures prevents 120 deaths and nearly 50,000 injuries each year. At SEAM Group, we work with your organization to mitigate the risks associates with operating and maintaining hazardous energy sources. If your organization does not have a written LOTO program in place, we help you develop a sustainable program that meets your organization’s specific requirements and policies as well as compliance with applicable regulations.
For organizations that already have a LOTO program, but believe it could use improvement, we offer a LOTO Compliance Gap Assessment (CGA) where we assess your current LOTO program for compliance and efficacy, recommend revisions as deemed necessary, and develop equipment specific LOTO procedures. Clients appreciate this offering as they don’t have to necessarily start from scratch and can receive the proper guidance and service to enhance their current program.
Work with SEAM Group to develop the proper LOTO program that controls and maintains hazardous energy in your organization. Connect with us to learn more about our LOTO services.