Despite preventing an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year, lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures are one of the most-cited OSHA violations each year, according to EHS Today. In 2019, the LOTO standard placed fourth in OSHA’s Top 10 list of most cited violations.
To enforce an effective LOTO program within an equipment shop, employers must ensure workers understand the program, and conduct periodic inspections to reinforce it. The checklist below offers step-by-step LOTO process details to trainees, according to Specification Online:
- Detail procedures for equipment: Ensure you have the correct procedures in place for shutting down and restarting machinery safely. Prepare the equipment for shutdown and highlight any potential hazards which may occur.
- Proper shutdown: Explain and write down the shutdown instructions in detail to reduce the risk of damage to equipment and keep everyone safe. Make sure the instructions are in the correct sequence and are clearly written.
- Isolation: Ensure isolation points are identified, labelled, and disconnected from all primary and secondary power sources.
- Apply lockout devices: Apply lockout devices to all energy isolating devices and make sure they are tagged according to your company’s safe work procedures. Inspect the system thoroughly to ensure all moving parts have stopped.
- Tryout: Verify the lockout by attempting to start the equipment to verify that the lockout has been successful. Inspect the system to ensure it does not restart. If it has been successful, return all switches to their off positions.
- Conduct required work: At this stage, workers can complete the required maintenance or cleaning work on the equipment/machinery safely. Ensure to stay alert to any potential work hazards or areas of equipment that could re-start.
- Reactivate: Once work is complete, equipment can be restarted. Only the responsible person who applied the lockout device in the first instance can remove it, to ensure safety.
Organization should also conduct periodic program audits/inspections. These inspections will help companies maintain the established procedures to minimize risk along with maintaining compliance, and protecting the investment of the safety program.
Source: EHS Today and Specification Online