What does Lockout Tagout (LOTO), mean?
Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) is a series of procedures used to ensure equipment is turned off, inoperable, and, where applicable, de-energized. This allows safe maintenance and repair of the system.
Lockout/Tagout is required for any workplace situation that may result in the accidental release of hazardous energy. This includes electricity, but also other forms of energy like gas, pneumatic pressure, hydraulic press, and gas. LOTO procedures are used to protect against direct exposure to such energy as well as to protect machinery and objects from any damage that could result from that energy (e.g., accidentally activating a pneumatic press span>).
How We Explain Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)
LOTO procedures should be implemented at work. This means that all employees must be trained in the same LOTO procedures. These procedures typically include both locks and tags. However, tags can be used exclusively if a lock cannot be applied to a system.
Locks are used to prevent workers from activating equipment or from accessing specific parts of equipment. The tags, on the contrary, serve as a form of hazard communication, warning workers against activating or using any piece of equipment.
Importance Of Lockout/Tagout Methods
In any workplace where workers are in direct contact with machinery or equipment, lockout/Tagout is a crucial aspect of workplace safety. LOTO procedures can prevent the following accidents:
- Electrical accidents
- Explosions and fires
- Chemical exposure
Purpose Of Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) Safety
The purpose of lockout tagout is to prevent injuries that may result from unintended use, defective or maintenance-related conditions, or unauthorized persons. It is designed to help ensure the safety of its employees when taking part in the maintenance identified in the purpose of the lockout list. In conducting an inspection for lockout tagout, it is the employers’ responsibility to thoroughly review and check any areas where lockout tagout is required under the installation and operation procedures.
When it comes to lockout tagout, the lockout tagout program is one of the most important steps in keeping employees safe. In order to prevent injuries that may result from unintended use, defective or maintenance-related conditions, or unauthorized access to equipment, it is necessary to ensure that you comply with all lockout tags and tags. It’s also your responsibility to thoroughly review and check any areas where lockout tagout is required under the installation and operation procedures.
Lockout tagout is the most effective way of ensuring employee safety in areas where maintenance will be conducted. It requires the employee to implement procedures to ensure that others are not put at risk.
Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) Standards
LOTO procedures are required in all jurisdictions that have an advanced occupational safety and health program.
The general industry standard in the United States for the use of LOTO procedures (lockout/Tagout) is 29 CFR 1910.147. However, However, OSHA also maintains other LOTO standards for situations that are not covered by 1910.147.
Machines and equipment that are being prepared for maintenance or service often contain ” dangerous energy “. This can cause injury to the people who live or work nearby.
Hazardous energy is any energy that could be released and can cause harm to a person. The following energy types could be included:
- Other sources
LOTO safety procedures must be followed in order to prevent equipment from unexpectedly starting up or releasing these forms of energy. This could lead to injury or even death for the workers on the machine, as well as others living or working nearby.
Workers can be exposed to energy sources, including mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, and chemical. Unexpected startup or release can cause serious injury or even death for workers who are responsible for the maintenance and servicing of equipment and machines.
Here are some examples:
- While a worker services a press, another worker arrives and starts it. The worker gets caught up in the press and is subsequently amputated.
- Workers repair a connection in piping. Somewhere up the same line, another worker opens a valve. Fluids are sent down the pipe by the valve and eventually spill onto and burn maintenance workers.
- When a conveyor jams, a worker attempts to clear it. The conveyor jam suddenly and unexpectedly opens and the worker is crushed.
- While a worker is servicing a machine the internal wiring of the machine goes out, the worker experiences shock.
These are all examples of dangerous energy causing harm. LOTO safety is about making sure that these types of dangerous energy don’t get released and cause no harm.
Lockout Tagout refers to the procedures that are used to make sure equipment is not in use until repairs or maintenance are completed. These procedures are designed to protect employees from machinery or equipment that could injure them or cause death if they are not properly managed.
Lockout/Tagout” refers specifically to practices and procedures that are designed to protect employees from unexpected energization, startup, or release of hazardous energy during maintenance or service activities. This means that an authorized individual must turn off the equipment or machinery from any energy sources before performing maintenance or service. To prevent the release or misuse of dangerous energy, the employee(s), lock or tag the energy-isolating devices to ensure safety and verify that they are working effectively.
Imagine that there is a potential to release dangerous stored energy or reaccumulate stored energies to a hazardous level. The employer must make sure that employees take precautions to avoid injury from stored energy being released. Energy-isolation devices are kept in a locked or off position by locking them. They prevent machines and equipment from being energized. These positive restraints are impossible to remove without a key, other unlocking mechanisms, or by extraordinary means such as bolt cutters.
Instead, Tagout devices are visible warning devices that authorized employees to fasten to energy-isolating gadgets to warn employees not to reenergize the machine while servicing or maintaining it. Employees have less protection from lockout devices than they do from Tagout devices. They are also easier to remove.
Difference Between Lockout & Tagout?
The lockout, in practice, is the isolation of energy from a system (a machine or equipment) that physically locks it in a safe mode. When the lockout is needed, Tagout is a labelling process.
The OSHA standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy, Lockout/Tagout (29 CFR 1910.147 for the general industry) outlines the measures to control different types of hazardous energies. The LOTO standard outlines the employer’s responsibility for protecting workers from hazardous energy.
A lockout/Tagout procedure/method should include these six steps:
- Check your stored energy
- Verification of isolation
Let’s take a closer look at each step of LOTO safety in the sections below.
Step 1: Preparation ─ Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)
First, lockout and Tagout any machine or equipment. Preparation is the first step in service and maintenance. During the preparation phase, an authorized or approved employee must conduct extensive research to understand all possible hazards associated with hazardous energy. It is important to identify and monitor the hazards.
Step 2: Shut down ─ Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)
Once the planning is complete, it’s time to power down or lockout the machines. Now it’s time for the machine or equipment to be turned off. Notifying employees affected by the shutdown is an important step. Even if they don’t have a role in maintenance or service,
Step 3: Isolation ─ Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)
Next, the Lockout/Tagout procedure or process is to isolate the machine or equipment from any energy source. This can be used to turn off power at a breaker or close a valve.
Step 4: Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)
Once the equipment or machine has been isolated from its energy source, lockout/tagout is the next step. This step is the most important in the entire six-step process.
The authorized or approved employee will attach the lockout, Tagout devices to an energy-isolating device.
It is important to place a lockout device on an energy-isolating device so that it states in the “safe” position and cannot be passed to an unsafe condition except by the person who performed the lockout. The tagout refers to the application of a tag to the device. This tag contains additional information, such as the name of the person who submitted the lockout.
Step 5: Stored Energy Check ─ Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)
The machine has been locked and secured after the energy source is disconnected or separated.
Although it is possible to guarantee that the machine has no dangerous energy stored or saved, or that it can be safely maintained,
It’s crucial to check for hazardous energy stored within the machine or “residual”. Any potentially hazardous residual or stored energy that is not immediately dangerous must be removed, disconnected, restricted, or made non-hazardous.
Step 6: Isolation Verification ─ Lockout/Tagout (LOTO)
The Lockout/Tagout safety last step is about making sure. You have shut down the machines or turned them off, taken out the source of power, and locked them out. Now is the time to double-check your work and make sure it’s safe to continue with the machine or equipment.