A guide to safety lockout
Lockout and tagout safety plays an important role in many work places across a host of industries. Let us help guide you through the basics without lockout/tagout safety guide.
What is a lockout/tagout?
Lockout/tagout is the process of controlling hazardous energy during the service and maintenance of machinery or equipment. It involves the placement of a lockout padlock, devices and tag on an energy-isolating devise, ensuring that the equipment being controlled cannot be operated until the lockout device is removed.
Hazardous energy comes in many different forms, all of which are potentially harmful to employees: Electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, chemical, thermal, pneumatic or gravity.
Why implement a lockout/tagout programme?
An effective LOTO program has immediate impact on the whole organisation:
- Reduce the number of injuries and fatalities
- Control of insurance and compensation fees
- Better use of machines- reduce the downtime and improve productivity
- Strengthen workers skills
- More commitment from employees
Using its knowledge and expertise, Master Lock recommends a seven step process to effectively lockout equipment
Prepare for Shutdown
The authorised person must identify which sources of energy are present and must be controlled; identify what method of control will be used.
Notify all affected employees
The authorised person communicates the following information to notify affected persons:
- What is going to be locked/tagged out
- Why it is going to be locked/tagged out
- For approximately how long will the system be unavailable
- Who is responsible for the lockout/tag out
- Who to contact for more information
If the system is operating it should be shut down in its normal manner.
Isolation of system from hazardous energy
Isolate the energy with a lockout device and ensure complete blockage for the duration of the maintenance operation to prevent any possibility of reactivating the flow of energy.
Dissipation of residual or stored energy
Identify any stored energy in rams, flywheels, springs, pneumatic, or hydraulic systems and make sure it is dissiped.
- Lock up the device and ensure it cannot be removed, and the machine cannot be inadvertently operated.
- Each lock should only have one key
- There should be as many locks on the device as there are people working on it – each of the individuals should place their OWN lock on the system. Locks can only be removed by those who installed them.
Verify that the system is properly locked out before beginning any work