Everything to Know About Lockout Tagout

Lockout and tagout are security precautions that are followed in the industry. Without its implementation, maintenance work should not begin. OSHA, an autonomous agent from the US Department of Labor provides specific guidelines. Apart from the warnings and guidelines provided specifically by OSHA, every year thousands of large and small industries find themselves on the radar of violations.

Let’s go about defining and understanding the associated concepts.

System – In a LOTO procedure, system refers to the concerned equipment.

Energy – Industries are powerhouses. Powerhouses need energy to run. The workers and staff need to stay away from such energies as they might harm themselves. They are gravitational, pneumatic, hydraulic, chemical, thermal & mechanical energy.

LOTO – Lockout tagout procedure (LOTO) is the safety protocol containing various steps whose following is necessary.

Injuries – If the procedure is not followed with strict adherence, the workers are the ones who suffer. From mild injuries to fatal deaths, everything is possible. Some common injuries are: electrocution, amputations, burns, cuts, lacerations, fractures etc.

Lockout – It means placing a device as a lock or key combination to make sure that energy cannot be transmitted to a system to allow its movement.

Lockout Products – There are a wide range of products used for locking machines. Some of them are hasps, circuit breakers, valves, springs, padlocks, cable locks, cylinder lockouts etc.

Tagout – It means placing a special ‘warning’ tag on the isolated system. In addition to the locks, tags are used.

Tagout Signs – There’s several types of signs that comprise tagout. They are ‘Warning’, ‘Do Not Touch’, ‘Danger’, ‘Caution’, ‘Out Of Service’ etc.

Tagout products – Here, variety does not matter. The main aim of a tag is to warn the employees and give additional details. These details are: the name of the Authorized employee, how the employee might be reached, the time & date of tag, and the purpose of tag.

Authorized Employee – They are the experts of the LOTO procedure who’re authorized to carry out the necessary steps.

Affected employee – These are all the non-experts. They comprise all the personnel who are not qualified to carry out the procedure like workers, machine operators, craftsmen, staffs etc.

Safety Lockout is applicable and followed while performing these activities:

Installation
Maintenance
Repair
Servicing
Modifying
Inspection
Construction

Problems with Procedure – Many problems follow if one wants to follow the procedure. It’s because the instructions are not relayed forward correctly. Some common problems are:

Wrong use of locks
Failure to identify all energy sources
Wrong use of tags/locks
Lack of system & rules
Negligent work
Failure to train all employees
Tool changes due to maintenance