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Debunking the 10 Myths of Lockout Tagout

dateAugust 17, 2021

Lockout Tagout (LOTO) is a fundamental safety procedure that safeguards lives by ensuring the de-energization of machines and equipment during servicing or maintenance. Despite its significance, misconceptions and myths surrounding LOTO are rampant. Many of these myths stem from misinformation, lack of proper training, or resistance to change. Understanding and debunking these myths can lead to safer work environments and better adherence to safety protocols.

Myth 1 - LOTO is Expensive:

While there's a cost associated with implementing a comprehensive LOTO system, the value of human life and safety is incomparable.

One of the most persistent myth that people have created in their minds about LOTO is that it is expensive. LOTO is not an expense, but an investment that guarantees safety of both life and property. It is an assurance, that every individual will reach back home safely.

Machine operators, electricians, and laborers are among the workers who are getting severely injured during routine servicing, in huge numbers throughout the globe. The incidence data revealed is just the tip of the iceberg. All these workers injured from the exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for retrieval. When the number is huge, a loss of 24 days of an employee is a big setback for a company both economically and socially. This critical situation can be averted by simply following systematic Lockout Tagout.

In fact, the cost of ignorance, indifference and non-compliance can be much higher and much expensive due to heavy penalties and expensive fees on case suits. Following LOTO gives a sense of security, boosts the morale and builds trust.

Myth 2 - Servicing Can Be Managed Without LOTO:

Some Organizations do not want to accept the change. Especially the old overconfident employees who think, that the work they are doing since ages, does not require any LOTO before maintenance as it is the way they have been doing it ever since. Thus, lack of safety culture, Lack of Knowledge and LOTO system, leads to uncalled eventualities. Even with the re-occurrence of repeated incidences, the old mindset is not ready to accept that it is due to absence of LOTO system in place. This is mainly because, the Top management is ignorant and no disciplinary action is taken for non-compliance and mis happenings.

We need to change this reluctant attitude and follow LOTO religiously.

Myth 3 - LOTO is a Time-Consuming Activity:

A minute delay is no delay if it saves a precious life!

Our life is the most important asset we have with us. What is the value of all the money we save, of all the dreams we see and all the relations we make, if we lose our lives or harm ourselves as a result of carelessness?

 Implementing LOTO keeps you away from such fear. How much time does it takes in all to put a lock on the machine and continue your work carefree?                                 

It is true that anything you do for the first time, will take a little while but once in practice, it will take hardly any time. It is systematic planning and regular training that brings LOTO in practice, making it just a matter of few minutes. In fact, investing a minute in your safety helps you avoid the future consequences that you might face due to carelessness.

Therefore, Lockout Tagout is not a time-consuming activity, rather a Time-saving act which builds trust of the employees and motivates them to work efficiently. LOTO works as a morale booster that helps you focus on your job happily, conveniently and confidently.

It is for our own Safety. So, Practice is the Key!

Myth 4 - LOTO Equals Only Electrical Isolations:

Only Electrical energy is the beast to be tamed and no worries about rest of the energies, is the biggest myth. With this mentality employees become careless while handling other energies and numerous incidences take place.

Due to Chemical, Thermal, Hydraulic, Pneumatic Energy many workers have been exposed to Flammable, corrosive substances, pressurized steam, gas and liquid and have even lost their precious lives. Same is the case with hazardous stored, potential and mechanical energies, where the individuals have been crushed or struck by the objects.

All these energies are equally hazardous and needs to be isolated before performing service and maintenance.

Myth 5 - LOTO is a Burden to the Existing Process:

Every employee is burdened with targets and work commitments to be accomplished. With this busy schedule, sometimes even the simplest of the work looks burdensome. But LOTO is vital for the safety of the employee, and therefore cannot be considered burdensome at any cost.

How can a procedure that is saving lives, cutting costs, improving productivity, giving moral support and building trust be called burdensome?

In fact, Lockout Tagout protects the employees from future consequences. Since there is lack of awareness and clarity about Lockout Tagout and LOTO System is not in place in most of the industries, it appears quite taxing.

Having a LOTO Plan is the key!

Myth 6 - A Few LOTO Devices Can Ensure Compliance:

Companies buy few local and irrelevant products from local vendors just to meet the compliances, and audit formalities. They feel that buying the basic lockout kit makes them LOTO compliant. But Lockout is just not about products, it is a complete plan that needs to be implemented systematically.

Lockout is not Compulsion, but Moral Obligation!

Myth 7 - Difficult to Adapt in Current Work Culture:

In the middle of difficulties, lies opportunities!

People don’t want to change. But they do change, if the change is in their favour. So, it is the responsibility of the employer to make the employees understand the importance of LOTO and that it is for their benefit and wellbeing.

Once the culture is enhanced and their mindset is changed, they adapt to the LOTO SYSTEM willingly.

Key is to enhance organizational Work Culture!

Myth 8 - Conventional Tagging is Enough:

Just Tagging is not the foolproof method of safe isolation. Thousands of incidences occur in the industries because of using conventional tagging only. Tags can be removed accidently while the authorized person is still doing the maintenance work. That is why Lockout Tagout together is recommended for complete energy isolation.

Lockout Tagout go hand in hand!

Myth 9 - Outdated Panels and Energy Sources Cannot Be Isolated:

Thinking that outdated panels and energy sources cannot be isolated, is a myth. E-Square professionals are working day and night to make lockout a complete, maintenance ritual in companies. They perform audit sessions; Surveys are conducted and we have a team of special installation engineers who have helped modifying thousands of equipment to make them LOTO adaptable.

Our engineers make sure that they isolate every equipment, be it new, old or obsolete.

Now E-Square has the widest range of Lockout devices to isolate even outdated energy sources.

Myth 10 - LOTO is Only About Products, Not the Program:

One of the biggest myths that companies have is that LOTO is just about procuring and using Lockout products and there is hardly any need of LOTO program. They think that it is a requirement of bigger organisations. But LOTO is not like other PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Therefore, In spite of spending money on LOTO devices and trainings, successful Lockout implementation is not achieved by most of the companies and lots of accidents take place.

Myths often stem from misunderstandings, lack of knowledge, or resistance to change. As industries and workplaces evolve, the emphasis on safety should grow exponentially. Debunking LOTO myths and promoting awareness can go a long way in creating safer workplaces. Remember, knowledge is the key to dispelling misconceptions, and when it comes to LOTO, safety truly is in your hands.

E-Square Compliance and Education Division
About the Author

E-Square Compliance and Education Division

A team of safety professionals and educators united to enhance workplace safety with essential Lockout Tagout knowledge. We offer expertise to foster safety compliance and effective LOTO protocols across industries.

E-Square Blog: Expert Analysis and Best Practices for Isolation Safety

The E-Square blog features advice, information and support on everything related to Lockout Tagout, including best practices, industry news, latest innovations and regulatory updates.

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