Lockout Tagout 6 Steps

Lockout tagout 6 steps procedures are an indispensable component of any lockout tagout (LOTO) program. Lockout tagout procedure steps help protect the workers and prevent injuries due to unexpected re-energization or release of stored energy when working on machines/equipment. In this blog, we will look at the details of the lockout tagout program.

Whether you’re in the United States and need to comply with OSHA lockout-tagout regulations, or you’re in another part of the world and need to comply with national and local safety regulations, compliance with lockout-tagout procedures should be your priority.

The basic technical requirements and the specific prevention measures that must be adopted in the workplace to protect the physical integrity, life and health of the workers. Who carries out activities related to machines/equipment was considered in the Modification Project. This will allow achieving decent work with a preventive approach so that workplaces with safe and healthy conditions prevail, by complying with updated regulations of LOTO. 

What is the lockout tagout 6 steps procedure?

Lockout tagout 6 steps procedures are written steps used to attach lockout tagout devices to energy isolating devices, thereby bringing the machine/equipment to a zero energy state. At this point, the equipment is isolated from any possibility of re-energization or release of internally stored energy. It means everything is completely disconnected.

Lockout Tagout 6 Steps
Lockout Tagout 6 Steps

Machine/equipment-specific LOTO procedures guide through an authorized employee sequential process in which equipment is safely delivered for maintenance. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates compliance requirements for lockout tagout procedures. Specific exception criteria are found in the standard: 1910.147(c)(4)(i). The standard states that employees must be protected against unexpected machines/equipment starting up and releasing stored energy.

Lockout tagout procedure steps

When servicing or maintaining machines/equipment, it is important to ensure that equipment cannot be accidentally activated or release stored dangerous energy. Therefore, it is necessary to follow the “lockout” and “tagout” procedures during servicing of the machine/equipment. 

Designated workers have to take a series of safety measures to ensure that the machine/equipment does not harm the person who is going to service it. The basic LOTO principle – one lock, one key, one tag and one person (1-1-1-1). The information required for each procedure according to OSHA standards is as follows:

  • The scope, purpose, methods and rules for controlling energy
  • The intended use of the procedure (Lockout)

6 Steps of LOTO:

  1. Steps to turn off the equipment or machine/equipment.
  2. Notify affected employees (maintenance, operation, contractor etc.).
  3. Steps to Isolate and Control Hazardous Energy Discharges (spading, blinding, single/double block and bleed valve).
  4. Apply the LOTO device (lock and tag).
  5. Try out and verify: Steps to test the machine/equipment and confirm that it is indeed locked(start the job).
  6. Steps for locating and removing tagout or lockout devices after work completion.

Failure to follow the written lockout/tagout procedure is strictly prohibited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Control of Hazardous Energy standard. A machine/equipment must be locked out and tagout in the following cases:

  • If an employee has any part of the body inside the equipment where the work is being performed.
  • If any part of the body is in a danger zone.
  • If an employee bypasses a guard or other safety device, the machine/equipment must be locked out.
  • Annual audit of LOTO procedure,
Electrical isolation steps
  1. Identify
  2. Isolate
  3. Secure
  4. Discharge
  5. Test
Mechanical isolation category (Physical Disconnection)
  1. Blinding, blanking, spading
  2. Double block and bleed valve
  3. Double block
  4. Single block and bleed valve

OSHA requires organizations to review the LOTO procedures every year. An audit helps to determine the procedures that provide the necessary protection for employees and if changes need to be implemented. It is also important to confirm that employees understand their responsibilities in each procedure and that they can perform the steps properly.

Lockout Tagout 6 Steps
Lockout Tagout 6 Steps

An annual lockout tagout program review is the perfect opportunity for employees to identify potential flaws in the program. And help ensure that no employee is injured as a result of unexpected energizing of equipment. If the review is carried out thoroughly and with a focus on safety, employees can correct potential defects before they have got any adverse consequences. 

Benefits of lockout tagout

Lockout tagout procedures, along with a series of hierarchical administrative controls that affect the way employees work, can increase worker safety. Those controls include policy, documentation procedures, and different types of training. These control actively help prevent accidents in the workplace.

Increased worker safety

Developing and implementing a lockout tagout program, along with written procedures and training can help to prevent any lost-time accidents. Lockout tagout 6 steps procedures provide employees with the information they need to work safely with equipment. Additionally, LOTO training educate authorized employees on potential related hazards and control methods. 

Improved compliance

Compliance with state and federal safety regulations, including OSHA, should be the goal of every business, regardless of size. Having compliance with the Lockout tagout 6 steps and documented procedures will result in a much safer workplace with fewer safety violations or fines. This way, workplace supervisors will know that they are doing everything in their power to provide a safe environment focused on safety and productivity.

Procedure Requirements for Authorized Employees

In your plant, you must have “authorized employees” and “affected employees.” The “authorized employee” locks or tags the machine/equipment for servicing or maintenance. An “affected employee” is one whose job requires them to work in the area where service or maintenance is being performed.

Lockout Tagout 6 Steps
Lockout Tagout 6 Steps

Carrying out maintenance or checking equipment can be dangerous for employees. That is why only authorized employees can carry out maintenance or checking of equipment. OSHA establishes who is an authorized employee, the responsibilities of an authorized employee, and which employees are affected.

Authorized employees must attend training on hazardous energy, its types and magnitudes in the workplace. In training, authorized employees learn how to perform lockout tagout when performing maintenance or control tasks. They should learn the proper steps to isolate and lockout energy sources and be trained in methods of verifying lockout accuracy.

In addition, authorized employees must know how to carry out a group lockout, how to handle shift changes, and what to do in other special circumstances.

Lockout tagout program

LOTO violations are the most sanctioned in the general industry. Your facility can eliminate this risk by adequately implementing a lockout/tagout program with step-by-step instructions to isolate, lockout, and tagout all forms of power supply to machines/equipment.

A successful lockout/tagout program starts with a solid foundation and a written plan. After that, proactive training and employee awareness programs will ensure a safer work environment for everyone. The safety procedure has broken down the lockout/tagout program into five easy steps, each with effective elements to increase workplace safety.

Step 1: Develop and document a written lockout/tagout program

According to OSHA standard, 29 CFR 1910.147(c), a written lockout/tagout program must cover, at a minimum, the following aspects:

  • Purpose and scope of the program
  • Personnel authorized to perform lockout/tagout
  • Compliance Policy
  • Training methods
  • Group Lockout Procedures
  • Shift Transfer Procedures
  • Lock removal procedures
  • Method for auditing and updating lockout procedures
  • Coordination with external contractors

Step 2: Graphical lockout procedures for specific machine/equipment

Lockout tagout procedures must be machine/equipment specific. That is, a specific lockout tagout procedure must be developed for each piece of equipment. These lockout procedures will serve as a checklist to ensure that employees completely shut down the machine/equipment before servicing, prevent errors, and minimise the risk of accident or injury.

Lockout Tagout 6 Steps
Lockout Tagout 6 Steps

The following guidelines must be followed:

  • Procedures must be documented and must identify the equipment they cover.
  • An individual procedure must be created for each machine/equipment to be locked. There are exceptions where multiple machines/equipment can be handled in a single procedure.
  • The procedure must include specific steps to shut down, isolate, lock out, and secure equipment to control hazardous energy.
  • Specific steps for placing, removing, and transferring lockout/tagout devices should also be included.
  • The employer must carry out and certify periodic inspections at least once a year.

Step 3: Identification of points for energy control

The third step in a lockout program is to identify all energy control points with tags, or signs. In Section 1910.147(C)(5)(III) ‘IDENTIFICATION OF ENERGY SOURCES’, OSHA requires facilities to locate and mark all points for electrical energy isolation. Points for energy control must be marked with permanent labels that warn of hazardous conditions if the machine/equipment is activated.

Step 4: Training and communication to employees on lockout/tagout

The fourth step in an effective lockout program is to train employees and promote the implementation of best practices of communication. Ultimately, safety and efficiency can only be achieved by training employees in proper lockout practices. Just as a lack of regulation and employee training can create an unsafe workplace, adopting good safety and risk management practices can help organizations care for their employees and increase productivity.

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The regulations indicate:

  • That the employer must provide training to ensure that employees understand the purpose and function of an energy control program.
  • The employer must certify that the employee’s training has been completed and is constantly updated.
  • There are three categories of employees that require formal lockout training: “Authorized,” “Affected,” and “Other.”
  • Provide training and theoretical-practical training to workers for the installation, operation, maintenance, reviews, tests and dismantling of machine/equipment, as applicable, based on a training program that is prepared in this regard, which includes at least the next:
  1. The analysis of the specific potential risks for each machine/equipment.
  2. Safe work procedures in the operation of machines/equipment.
  3. The use of personal protection equipment- Selection, use and handling in the workplace, or those that replace it.
  4. Review of safety devices, and their proper functioning.
  5. The safety measures that must be adopted before, during and after starting up the machine/equipment.
  6. The proper use of tools for the installation, operation, maintenance, revisions, tests and, where appropriate, dismantling of machine/equipment.

Procedures for emergency care

Training and instruction may be provided by a person, internal or external, who has specific knowledge of the type of machine/equipment to be installed, operated, cleaned, adjusted, maintained, inspected, tested, or dismantled, or be provided by a third party. Who is registered as an external training agent, with the topics established in this number, or with the certification in the specific labour competence?

Analysis to estimate the potential risk generated by the machine/equipment.

The analysis of potential risks should include the steps of Hazard identification; Type and degree of risk, Risk estimation, and Mitigation measures to reduce residual risk. For the identification of hazards, in the preparation of the potential risk analysis, it is necessary to Analyze: 

  • Moving parts;
  • The generation of heat and/or static electricity from machine/equipment;
  • The danger of the chemical substances used in its operation, revision, maintenance or tests, based on the information contained in the safety data sheets,
  • The ionizing and non-ionizing radiations that, if applicable, are generated;
  • Dangerous surfaces (due to temperature, sharp or hot elements, among others);
  • Physical agents or biological agents that may be a risk factor;
  • Sharp edge surfaces;
  •  The projection and heating of the raw material, by-product and finished product:
  • Improper handling and conditions of the tool used in the activities of installation, operation, maintenance, reviews, tests and dismantling of machine/equipment.

Risk assessment

For the Risk Assessment with mitigation measures for the reduction of residual risk, in the elaboration of the potential risk analysis, it must be determined if it is necessary to carry out a reduction of the risks. If necessary, appropriate protection and control measures must be selected and applied.

  1. The type of damage;
  2. The severity of the damage, and
  3. The probability of occurrence,

Worker’s obligations

  • Participate in the training and instruction provided by the employer.
  • Comply with the safety measures indicated by the specific occupational health and safety program for the installation, operation, maintenance, tests and dismantling of machine/equipment. 
  • Use the personal protective equipment provided by the employer according to the risk analysis and with the instructions for use, review, replacement, cleaning, limitations, maintenance, storage and final disposal provided by the employer.
  • Wear short or tied hair, and do not wear chains, rings, bracelets, loose sleeves or other objects that could be a risk factor during the operation.
  • Use the machine/equipment according to the instructions provided by the owner, supervisor or person in charge, which may be oral, or contained in the catalogue, manufacturer’s manual and/or in the operating procedure.
  • Before carrying out maintenance on machines/equipment, ensure that the LOTO procedure is followed.

Step 5: Installing the tagout and Lockout device

The fifth step in having an effective lockout program is equipping employees with the proper lockout and tagout devices. Adequate use of lockout tools is a determining factor in a successful lockout program. The following are some points to remember when selecting your lockout devices:

  • It is necessary to be able to isolate all types of energy effectively from all points of the shutdown.
  • Make sure you have the proper switch and lockout devices for your electrical equipment.
  • Make sure you have the right valve lockouts for your different valves: gate, ball, butterfly etc.
  • In addition, all authorized lockout employees must have exclusive control of the locks they use. No worker should be able to open another worker’s lock.

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