Customers for Lockout Tagout often ask us to help them formulate & customise Lockout Tagout Procedure that helps them comply with latest regulations and best practice. To assist you, I have put together the following information that I hope will improve your understanding of the legal requirements relating to Lockout Tagout:
Legalities related to the universally applicable Lockout Tagout (LOTO) process tend to vary from one country to another, and so do the penalties for any violations. While standard OSHA regulations are implemented worldwide, there are country-specific legal requirements that also need attention.
There are a few key guidelines to be followed by businesses or industrial establishments located in Europe:
- EU guidelines 89/655 stipulate the basic requirements on employee health and safety when handling industrial equipment.
- EN 1037 dwells on procedures to deal with energy isolation and dissipation to prevent hazardous equipment from being re-energised and safely clear a risk-prone area for use.
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France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and the UK have their very own safety directives built on OSHA standards, adding minute details that are relevant to the local environment.
Lockout Tagout – OSHA Standard
Lockout Tagout OSHA industry standard 29 CFR 1910.147 elaborates on how to lockout equipment and machinery or even risk-prone zones to prevent accidents that occur due to unexpected release of residual energy, accidental start-up or unplanned energisation. The energy source can be:
- Electrical – power-based (power equipment)
- Thermal – heat-based (ovens, freezers, Moving parts, Friction)
- Mechanical – movement-based (heavy machines)
- Hydraulic – compressed fluid-based (pumps, lathes)
- Pneumatic – compressed air- or gas-based (pumps)
- Potential – based on configuration, force fields or properties (coils, springs, elastic bands)
Lockout regulations are equally applicable to sources of toxic and hazardous substances, and to diverse industry settings that are potentially dangerous for humans.
Energy control is achieved by:
- Locking out the equipment and using suitable energy isolation devices to block energy from one or more sources.
- Aptly tagging or marking the energy isolations devices to warn people to stay off of the equipment or area.
Each type of equipment, machine or component requires a specific device to safely and reliably tackle energy isolation or lockouts. The comprehensive range of devices at www.lockoutsafety.com addresses almost all requirements.
Lockout Tagout – UK
As far as the UK is concerned, restricting unauthorised or accidental access or start-ups are addressed by
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment 1998 – Section 19
- Energy and Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, Regulation 13
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Lock Out Tag Out and Employer Responsibility
According to statistics from Health and Safety Executive, sawmills in the country had 2.5 times more injuries when compared to general manufacturing units last year, clearly attributable to machine accidents and Lockout Tagout procedures.
Compliance with Lock Out Tag Out regulations require:
- Company-wide awareness and a standard Lockout Tagout process.
- Machine or equipment specific Lockout Tagout process for complex or high-risk units.
- Training employees, workers and technicians to understand and follow the process to the T, with those performing maintenance or repairs thoroughly trained to identify, assess magnitude, isolate and control the energy source before the task, and release the locks only after clearing the area.
- The training course organised by www.lockoutsafety.com offers valuable insights into the legal requirements, role-specific responsibilities, energy sources, lockout devices and several other essentials.
- Continuous monitoring, refinement of process and re-training staff.
Employers are also bound by the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulations 1999 to ensure the safety and health of all staff who man the workplace.