What to Know About Lockout Tagout

Lockout tagout is a series of procedures that ensure the equipment in a factory or workspace is shut down and closed to operation until repair or maintenance work is completed. This ensures employee safety by preventing them from getting grievously injured by machinery at the site. For example, if you are cleaning under a machine, it should be fully shut down to eliminate you from getting injured by it.

When these procedures are not carried out, it increases the risk to employees in the workplace and it can lead to severe injuries and even death. There are also regulations that specify the operation of lockout tagout. Failure to do so will result in hefty fines. You can learn more about the procedures here. According to OSHA standards, employers should have a programme in place that ensures the machines are locked out during maintenance and repair procedures. The procedures should separate the source of energy from the machines so that unexpected start-ups are eliminated. There are some machines that store energy. There should be a procedure to shut off these machines as well by removing the stored energy. There should be sufficient employee training done at least annually or when new employees are brought on board to be versed in the lockout tagout procedures. They should be trained to inspect the relevant procedures as well.

The lockout tagout regulations apply to you if you have machines in the workspace that can potentially injure a person. This can be machinery that can burn, smash, shock or cut a person. This procedure should be in place when the machinery is installed, modified, maintained, serviced or inspected. There are also routine tasks such as cleaning, changing different attachments of the machine and lubricating that will require the same procedure. If the machine gets jammed, it should be completely shut up before the issue can be resolved. Some routine servicing tasks will not require lockout tagout procedures but you have to consider each and every piece of equipment in your workspace and check with regulations to see which requires the procedure.

There are different tools that can be used to make the lockout tagout procedures easier. You can use documentation and spreadsheets to manage these programmes. There can even be presentations and software that allow you to meet OSHA regulations. With such software, you will find it more convenient to build and manage these procedures. As all the information is stored in a software, you don’t need to worry about loss of information by missing paperwork. Some of the tools that are actively used in the procedures are padlocks, tags and devices that can be connected to the machine to release stored energy. You need to have a detailed lockout tagout procedure that can be easily accessed by the employees. Make sure that the employees that are affected understand how to follow the procedures. There should be periodical training to make the importance of these procedures clear. Make sure that these procedures are reviewed and audited regularly for improved safety.

Hester Griffith
the authorHester Griffith