The basic premise of lockout/tagout (LOTO) is simple: ensure equipment, machinery or vehicles are safe to service or perform maintenance on by locking energy-isolating devices on them (or attaching tags if locking is impossible). The goal is to ensure authorized employees can complete their work without fear of a machine starting (or being started) while they’re in harm’s way.
- Notify workers in the area that LOTO procedures will be taking place.
- Use appropriate locks or tags for the job.
- Locks and tags must be marked with the names (or even photos) of the workers authorized to use them.
- Never use other people’s locks and never attach or remove a lock on behalf of someone else.
- Don’t use duplicate keys.
- If more than one employee is working on the machine, every person must attach their own lock to a hasp at each isolation point.
- a group lockbox for Large or complex pieces of equipment with many hazardous energy sources may be needed.
- Locks and tags should be strong enough to prevent accidental removal.
- Remember to check for and lockout secondary sources of hazardous energy.
- If there is more than one person working on a machine, each one of them should verify the lockout.
- Remove locks or tags once the work is completed. There should be procedures in place to deal with shift changeovers that occur in the middle of servicing equipment that is locked/tagged out.
- Return the equipment to proper operation and ensure correct functioning.
- Notify workers in the area that LOTO-related work has been completed.
Despite the importance of lockout/tagout as a life-saving practice, there are still numerous violations of LOTO procedures each year. In fact, lockout/tagout has the dubious honor of holding a long-standing spot on OSHA’s top ten cited violations.
LOTO is one of our Company wide Cardinal Rules!
LOTO best practices. Because after all, no job is so important that it’s worth risking someone’s life to finish.