Like most business owners, you want to do everything possible to keep your employees safe. That’s where a lockout tagout procedure comes in. This procedure helps minimize the risk of injury or death when working with equipment that has been turned off or is inoperable. This article will cover what a LOTO program is, when to use it, how to write one, and how to keep yourself out of trouble with your boss and OSHA. We’ll also talk about how to write a lock out tag out procedure checklist.
What is LOTO?
A Lock Out Tag Out procedure, or LOTO, is a list of safety measures that should be followed in the workplace to help keep machines and equipment from unintentional energization while under repair or maintenance. Non-compliance with LOTO procedures is one of the most cited OSHA standards violations. That’s why it’s so important to have a well-written and comprehensive LOTO procedure in place.
When To Use LOTO?
“Is there a possibility that someone from your workforce gets injured while repairing or maintaining a machine or equipment?” “Do you need to turn your machines off during maintenance and repairs?” If your answer is ‘YES’ to both these questions, then you will need to implement LOTO procedures.
Conducting a LOTO procedure is essential every time there is a need to service or repair a machine as it:
- Helps prevent unnecessary and dangerous exposure to potential hazards.
- Gives employees a greater sense of safety while working.
- Reduces the likelihood of injuries, fatalities, and damages to the equipment.
LOTO Program Vs. LOTO Procedure
It’s important to know that LOTO program and LOTO procedure are different. Some use these terms interchangeably; however, it’s important to separate them to clarify certain things.
- LOTO Program: a safety program that encompasses all aspects of lock out tag out procedures in the workplace.
- LOTO Procedure: a specific set of steps must be followed when lock out tag out is required.
So while they fall under the same LOTO umbrella, they are two different things. It’s important to understand the difference to ensure you’re meeting all aspects of LOTO compliance.
Why Your Business Needs a LOTO Procedure
For facility managers, compliance is the number one reason why you need a LOTO procedure. Other benefits of LOTO procedure include:
- Improved safety for employees: with a LOTO in place, you can be sure that your employees are not being put in unnecessary danger while working.
- Less downtime for machines and equipment: by having a LOTO procedure, you can avoid costly downtime due to damaged equipment or accidents.
- Improved morale: a safe workplace is a happy workplace.
- Reduced risk of injuries or fatalities: this is the most important reason for having a LOTO procedure. By following proper procedures, you can avoid tragic accidents.
- Greater sense of safety in the workplace: when employees feel safe, they are more productive.
What is a LOTO Procedure Checklist?
A Lock Out Tag Out procedure checklist ensures that all steps in the lock out tag out procedure are followed. The checklist should be specific to your workplace and include all necessary steps for lock out tag out.
A LOTO procedure checklist will help ensure worker protection against hazards such as accidental equipment energization or exposure to hazardous energy. Millions of machine operators are exposed to hazardous energy every day—a Lock Out Tag Out procedure checklist aims to safeguard workers from these risks.
Elements of a LOTO Procedure Checklist
Lock Out Tag Out procedures vary depending on the industry or type of machine work being done. However, every LOTO procedure checklist contains main sections that should always be included:
Machine or Equipment Information
- Identify the machine or equipment to be shut down.
- Record the purpose of the lock out tag out procedure, such as repair or maintenance.
- Identify the energy source that could be causing harm if not isolated (e.g., electrical, hydraulic, mechanical, chemical, pneumatic, thermal, etc.)
- Check if the surrounding area of the equipment has no items that could pose a risk if the machine were to start up unexpectedly.
- If any items in the area could pose a risk, they should be removed before proceeding with the lock-out tag out procedure.
- Employees who are not going to work on the maintenance should clear the area.
- Inform employees about their responsibilities during the LOTO procedure and the machine/equipment maintenance.
- Notify employees if a machine or equipment is about to be serviced and that you’re about to perform a LOTO procedure.
- Make sure the proper LOTO devices are available for the job.
- Identify the persons responsible for applying the devices.
Applying LOTO Devices
- Identify and de-energize primary and secondary energy sources.
- Isolate all power sources before applying LOTO procedures to each energy device.
- Lock out the equipment or machine; verify shut off and make sure employees know that it’s out of service at the moment.
Removing LOTO Devices
- The person who applied the LOTO devices should remove them at the end of the process.
- Clear all the tools and restore machine guarding.
- Restore energy to the equipment and machine.
- Inform all relevant employees that the equipment or machine is operational again.
Types of LOTO Devices
Depending on the work and type of equipment, the LOTO devices that companies use will vary. However, all of these devices are classified into four types: padlocks, tags, energy isolating devices (EID), and safety hasps.
- Padlocks: A padlock is the most common LOTO device and is used to lock out energy sources.
- Tags: A tag is a less permanent way to warn others that a machine is out of service.
- Energy Isolation Devices (EID): An EID physically prevents the flow or release of energy.
- Safety Hasps: A safety hasp is used in addition to a lock or tag to provide extra security.
Create a LOTO Procedure Checklist with DataMyte’s Digital Clipboard
If you’re looking to implement Lock Out Tag Out procedures, you’ll need to create a checklist that you will use during this operation. While there are many software out there that can carry out that task, none are as efficient and effective as the DataMyte Digital Clipboard.
The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is a workflow automation system that can be used to create a digital lock out tag out procedure checklist. With this system, you can quickly and easily create a checklist that will help you standardize your LOTO procedures.
Plus, the DataMyte Digital Clipboard comes with an audit trail feature that will allow you to track and monitor compliance with your LOTO procedures. This is an essential feature for any company looking to improve safety and reduce risk.
Visit our website or contact our team today if you’re interested in learning more about the DataMyte Digital Clipboard. We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions and give you a demo of our system.
If you’re working with machinery or equipment, a lock-out tag-out procedure is necessary for your operations. Use this article to help you incorporate this procedure into your work routine to comply with OSHA standards. Also, don’t forget to create a lock out tag out checklist with DataMyte’s Digital Clipboard for an easy and efficient way to manage this process.