While industrial machinery poses an apparent risk to the operator, it can also be hazardous when not in operation. When an energy source remains attached to the machine, workers are at risk of a potentially life-threatening accident. For this reason, safety regulations require a formal lockout/tagout training program.
In this article, we get into more detail about an effective and proper lockout/tagout procedure that will protect workers from harm. In addition to this information, you may find this blog helpful in learning more about the role of LOTO in industrial safety procedures.
The steps of a lockout/tag out procedure
When developing a lockout/tagout program, you want to imagine yourself in the viewpoint of a person who has never worked with the machine before—the more detailed the guideline, the better. Remember, when it comes to safety training in Calgary, there is no such thing as offering too much information.
Let’s take a look at the six steps of an effective lockout/tagout program:
lock out tag out training
Step 1: Preparation
The preparation phase is all about gaining a thorough understanding of all the hazardous energy that the equipment contains. The authorized employee must investigate and identify all of the hazards of the machinery.
Determine which employees will be involved and plan the procedure ahead of time. Employees must be trained on:
- The type of energy the equipment controls
- The types of hazards associated with the energy
- The methods of controlling the energy
Step 2: Shut Down
The first thing to do before shutting down the machine or equipment is to notify any employee who will be affected by the shutdown. Part of lockout/tagout training is to identify all employees who should be notified, even if they aren’t directly working with the machine or completing the maintenance. During shut down, it’s important only to follow the established procedures of turning off the equipment specified by the manufacturer or the employer.
Step 3: Isolate the equipment
Identify all power sources, including electrical, mechanical, chemical, hydraulic, and thermal. It’s important to locate all power sources of the equipment and turn them off as improper isolation can result in serious injury.
Isolating the equipment can involve:
- Turning off power at a breaker
- Shutting a valve
- Blocking movable parts
- Releasing or blocking spring energy
- Draining hydraulic and pneumatic lines
- Lowering suspended parts to rest position
Step 4: Lockout/Tagout
Once the machine is isolated from its energy source, the authorized employee with apply the lockout/tagout devices. Each approved employee should have a personal lock with the worker’s name, department, contact information, date and time of tagging, and reason for the lockout.
Attach lockout/tagout devices to:
- Identified power sources
- Tag machine controls
- Pressure lines
- Starter switches
- Suspended parts
Step 5: Check Stored Energy
Hazardous energy can still be stored within the machine even after its been disconnected from its energy source. This step ensures that all residual energy is eliminate, restrained, or made non-hazardous in some other way.
Step 6: Isolation Verification
The last step is to double check that the lockout/tagout procedures have been accurately carried out. During safety training in Calgary, an authorized employee will verify that the machine or equipment have been isolated, de-energized, and properly tagged.