Work in factories, manufacturing facilities and places where dangerous, heavy machinery is being operated is risky. Each day employees put their lives on the line as they operate and maintain these machines. It’s up to employers to protect them while on the job and provide the necessary tools to stay safe. They must also follow critical compliance standards and offer proper training and precautions.
Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) procedures are a safety measure enforced by OSHA to help prevent injuries and fatalities in the workplace due to machines erroneously becoming energized and turned on while someone is working to service or maintain them.
Amputations, death, shock, and burns are all risks taken by those who are servicing machines. LOTO is different from machine guarding operator safety and relates to those who must get inside of machinery or place a part of their body into a machine to service it.
If you haven’t reviewed your procedures yet or are looking to ensure compliance, below are some facts to consider in regards to lockout/tagout.
Know the Right Steps
There are certain steps to follow to ensure a proper LOTO procedure is in place. Each workplace should set up a procedure based on their operations but it should always include these critical steps:
- Proper preparation of machines (understanding the risks coming from it)
- Effective shut down of all possible energy sources
- Locking out a machine from being turned back on until the person who set it or someone authorized to turn it back on does so.
- Checking and recheck that all machines are locked.
Provide Regular Training
For both new employees, those servicing the machines and those who work in an environment where this dangerous task is happening, training is critical. Understanding why tagout and lockout is needed and what dangers are present as well as explaining the steps needed to ensure safety are all critical to keep everyone onboard. Refreshers for long time employees can also go a long way in keeping up to date information and current compliance standards met.
Have Emergency Supplies on Hand
In order to properly turn off and label equipment for LOTO you’ll need the right supplies. Depending on the device being locked and tagged this can vary from a padlock, cable or even a pneumatic lock. Tags will also need to have the proper warnings and dangers posted.
Keep your workplace compliant with the following options from SoCal First Aid, Southern California’s trusted source for safety training and products.
- Lockout Tagout Kit
- Sign Rack
- Lockout Tagout Station
- Lockout Tag out Belt
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