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Operating machinery safely requires thorough training — the same goes for storing technology when it’s not in use. Lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures can be the difference between a successful day on the job and your employees getting hurt.

What Is Lockout/Tagout?

Lockout/tagout involves controlling hazardous energies that could result in a machine or device starting up on its own — think taking your keys out of the car and putting them in a lockbox when your vehicle is due for service.

Every energy control program should have a clear lockout/tagout procedure outlined for employees. Here are the steps of an effective lockout/tagout process for the equipment you use routinely.

1. Preparation for Shut Down

An equipment operator must be aware of all forms of hazardous energy generated by the machine they are using. Adequate training around a piece of equipment is necessary to properly shut down a machine and control this energy.

2. Shutting Down Equipment

The machine operator must follow the manufacturer’s instructions to power down the equipment. The equipment operator then needs to inform nearby employees about the status of the machine.

3. Isolate Hazardous Energy Sources

All sources of hazardous energy must be isolated. An employee can achieve this by shutting off the power or engine, preventing parts from moving while away and closing off valves depending on the machine.

4. Apply Locks and Tags

Apply Locks and Tags

Locks prevent switches and levers from moving when equipment is unattended. Padlocks and safety hasps are examples of technology that eliminate the chances of hazardous energies overtaking a machine. The employee responsible for shutting down equipment should place a tag on the machine with their name, contact details and the reason for locking the equipment.

5. Check for Secondary or Stored Energy Sources

The equipment operator needs to verify other hazardous energies are not stored within the machine. This could be secondary energy sources like heat inside a thermal system.

It is the responsibility of the authorized person to disconnect, restrain or relieve secondary energy sources before leaving the equipment unattended.

6. Double-Check Isolation

Verification of isolation is possibly the most important of all the steps for lockout/tagout. The authorized person double-checks that equipment is unable to start without the removal of LOTO technology. The machine can now undergo maintenance, repairs or cleaning until it is time to start the machine and alert employees that equipment will be re-energized.

Enroll in Lockout/Tagout Safety Training With Hazmat School

Hazmat School offers Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety courses for professionals in the transportation, construction and warehouse industries. Get certified in LOTO safety procedures when you sign up for our two-hour online training course. Register with us today.

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