Your lockout tagout procedure protects your people and energized assets

The energy sources powering your assets can pose risks to your people and operations if your LOTO procedures are inaccurate or not followed.  

So, whether your facility relies on electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or any energy source, our experts have answered frequently asked lockout tagout procedure questions in this blog. 

What is a lockout tagout procedure?

A proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedure outlines the steps to disable machinery or equipment to prevent hazardous energy release.¹ The LOTO standard establishes that you are responsible for protecting your employees from unsafe energy sources on machines and equipment during service and maintenance. 

How do you create a lockout tagout program? 

The first step in developing a successful lockout tagout program is documenting your facility’s LOTO energy control process. You must customize the lockout tagout procedure for each asset to ensure compliance with the applicable OSHA regulations and standards and your company’s specific requirements and policies. OSHA established a lockout/tagout standard 1910.146 to help organizations maintain proper LOTO products.

You will also need to document clear energy control procedures (ECP) for affixing appropriate lockout and tagout products to energy isolation devices.

Is our lockout tagout procedure compliant? 

OSHA estimates that compliance to lockout/tagout standards prevents approximately 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. These numbers illustrate the effect proper LOTO procedures can have on employee safety, regulatory fines violations avoidance, and uptime.

Partner with our team to perform a LOTO Compliance Gap Assessment to confirm compliance or identify improvement opportunities.   

Performing a LOTO gap assessment can help protect your people and assets from injury and damage. Based on our findings when performing LOTO gap assessments, the following areas often need improvement: 

  • Incomplete documentation of required training
  • Failure to update procedures reflecting changes in operations and equipment
  • Inattention to, or failure to identify, equipment stored energy

What are the key components of setting up proper energy control procedures?

  • Identify the energy types operated within a piece of equipment. Is it only electrical energy, or is the equipment in question operating with a large press brake with stored gravity energy?
  • Identify the remaining stored energy after shutdown and determine how it will be released or dissipated
  • Identify how to isolate any energy external to the equipment
  • Identify how energy is controlled. Are these controls compliant and effective?
  • Evaluate current procedures and ask yourself: Would I be safe putting my hand in potentially hazardous areas or taking off guarding if I follow the lockout tagout procedure?
  • Ensure clear communication of proper LOTO procedures for each piece of equipment

What are the eight steps for the sequence of a lockout tagout procedure

Your equipment and assets contain hazardous energy requiring you to comply with site-specific lockout/tagout procedures.

Check out the OSHA Standard Number 1910.147 App A2 specific requirements.

  1. Notify all affected employees before shutting down and locking out an asset for maintenance
  2. Ensure LOTO procedures are readily available so authorized employees can follow them to safely shut down equipment, isolate, and release stored energy
  3. Locate the energy sources and make sure your people follow the established standard shutdown procedure
  4. Deenergize and shut down the machine or equipment to safely isolate all energy sources
  5. Lockout and tagout the energy isolating device(s). Use the specified locks and tags on the equipment. If more than one individual is working on the machine, each person will need to attach their locks and tags to the energy isolating devices
  6. Dissipate stored or residual energy. Any stored energy must be removed by grounding, repositioning, blocking, bleeding down, etc. (Stored energy can include capacitors, springs, elevated machine members, rotating flywheels, hydraulic systems, air, gas, steam, or water pressure, etc.)
  7. Confirm energy has been removed. Make sure the equipment is disconnected from the energy source(s), verify the isolation of the equipment by trying to start the equipment, and test to make sure the equipment will not operate
  8. Verify and recheck the isolation of the equipment.

Who should be involved in the lockout/tagout process?

Three types of people3 are involved in a lockout/tagout procedure: 

  1. Authorized employees 
  2. Affected employees
  3. Other employees

Authorized employees performing service or maintenance are the only employees authorized to lockout and tagout equipment. Authorized employees know an asset’s energy, hazards, controls, and procedures. 

Affected employees operate assets requiring maintenance involving lockout tagout procedures or whose job requires them to be in an area where LOTO procedures are performed. Your affected employees must be trained and understand your LOTO procedures. 

Other employees work in the area where a LOTO procedure is performed. These employees cannot place or remove lockout tagout devices. 

The power of your Lockout/Tagout program investment is unlocked when your employees are adequately trained and empowered with the skills to do their job safely. You can rely on our safety training expertise to meet compliance requirements and advance your team’s capabilities with lockout/tagout training. 

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