The Lockout Tagout Procedure For Dangerous Machines

Translated by Alexandra Igna (2019)

The lockout tagout procedure is mainly used to make sure that various machines used in different industries are effectively turned off and unable to be started up before the necessary inspection and repair work is done on them. These machines are considered to be potentially dangerous and therefore require proper isolation for enhanced safety in the workplace. The basic mechanism the lockout tagout procedures rely on is the control of hazardous energy.

What You Need To Know About Lockout Tagout

Energy and industrial machines lie at the heart of many companies. However, the potential dangers emanating from them are often times underestimated. The repair and maintenance of industrial equipment and machinery cause thousands of accidents each year. More often than not, these accidents are caused by an energy supply that has hot been properly switched off.

Fewer things offer effective protection as a lockout tagout procedure. You aren't using this system yet? Locking and tagout systems or LoTo on short enable small and large systems to be appropriately marked and blocked when necessary.

What Do Employers Have To Do To Protect Their Employees?

The origin of the lockout tagout procedure lies in the United States of America, where it is legally and technically ruled by the OSHA. The lockout/tagout method is increasingly used in Germany. There is no obligation under European legislation to use LoTo, but there are specific legal requirements that can be met with the help of a lockout tagout program.

Modification, Repair, And Maintenance

All types of machines used in various industries require periodical maintenance, repair, and modification work. These cannot be effectively and safely completed before the respective equipment is at a standstill.

It is also necessary to secure all work equipment and its moving parts against switching on and any unintentional movement. If your employees are exposed to hazardous forms of energy sources during maintenance and repair work, it is advisable to implement a lockout-tagout standard. Keep track of how dangerous energies can be controlled when human intervention is needed in hazardous areas. According to this method, systems are mechanically blocked and optically marked. You are just a few steps away from maximum worker protection during maintenance and repair. Here is what you need to know.

4 Steps To Your Own Lockout Program

Opting for a LoTo process to comply with the previously mentioned rules means complying with US Legislature 21 CFR 1910.147. The OSHA standard provides the requirements that should be ideally met.

Step 1: Create and implement an energy control program

LoTo policy and procedure

  • Develop a lockout tagout overall strategy in your company.

  • Take maintenance precautions in your facility.

  • Why do you need a lockout tagout procedure?

  • Which employees have the authority to implement this procedure? Make sure they document everything related to the energy control process.

  • What dangerous energy sources are there in your company?

Step 2: Create Energy Control Points

Regular work days can lead to dramatic scenes playing out. An automatic steam valve can trigger and scald a worker performing a repair. Somewhere else, a blocked subsidy system can loosen and severely injure an employee focusing on solving the blockage. Cables come off, giving the technical installer an electric shock. All of these dreadful scenarios are conceivable in the absence of proper maintenance backup.

Be sure to locate all the hazardous energy sources in your facility. Lockout tagout systems are an excellent means of controlling many energy sources that pose a risk to industrial workers. Various types of hazards exist; it would be wrong to solely consider electrical and mechanical systems when other forms of energy such as pneumatics, hydraulics or chemicals also exist. For every known source of danger in your facility, you should use a tuned blocking system during operation. All energy sources must be isolated and switched off. Plus, you should use label machines with appropriate warning labels that identify the source of the hazard.

Step 3: Use the right lockout / tagout products

Provide your employees with the right equipment

Even workers responsible for changing a single bulb must operate the fuse and turn off the power. Make sure you transfer this approach to complex technical systems in your company. In accordance with US legislation 21 CFR 1910.147, all necessary equipment for locking and marking a machine must be made available. The globally recognized practice distinguishes between two types of tools:

Lockouts, which refer to those tools that ensure a permanent shutdown of energy. The lock usually consists of a mechanism for blocking and a lock for locking. It is used for preventing various machines from being switched on. Examples include lockout locks, valve shut-offs or lock chambers. LoTo tags tagout tools refer to the noticeable tags on lockout devices and indicate shutdown machines and devices. The aim is to inform the employees about maintenance or repair work and to prevent a restart. For this purpose, maintenance trailers and stickers with appropriate warnings should be used. Manufacturers offer a wide range of padlocks, lockout labels, lockout tags or entire lockout tagout sets that can be used to secure and tag a variety of energy types and sources in your factory. Important: Use only Lockout or Tagout tools that have been tailored to the machine.  Ideally, the work should be performed by an authorized commercial locksmith.

Step 4: Train Your Employees - How To Apply A Lockout Tagout Properly

LoTo employee training

Develop a LoTo process for your designated machines and determine what steps authorized employees must take. Plus, it is important to train your personnel in detecting dangerous energy, as well as the implementation of the LoTo process. Without proper use and implementation, the right equipment will be rendered useless. Employee training is critical in the implementation of the lockout tagout program in order to ensure effective protection. Stressful work routines too often rely on maintenance assurance, while the energy supply is not self-controlled. Some employees will send their co-workers to remove the lockout lock, even though they themselves are still working on a piece of broken machinery in the plant. Under hectic working conditions and time pressure, maintenance assurance is completely omitted. Such application errors must be avoided at all cause. All sources of danger must be highlighted, as they will affect all employees, not just those responsible for performing maintenance work.

Conclusion: Apply Lockout-Tagout programs properly and you will protect the lives of your employees. The benefits of LoTo are obvious if implemented correctly. During operation, you can reduce the number of accidents as well as injury-related costs with globally proven safety practices. At the same time, a well-organized lockout / tagout program with clear tagging will reduce maintenance and repair time. Professional maintenance can also prevent unexpected start-ups that could potentially increase indirect costs.




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