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The Essential Guide: 8 Steps for Applying Lockout Tagout

dateApril 20, 2021

The bustling environments of industries often hide potential dangers, especially during machine maintenance and servicing. Unexpected equipment startups or sudden energy releases can have catastrophic results. Thankfully, with careful adherence to OSHA's Lockout Tagout standard, such risks can be significantly mitigated. This guide presents an 8-step comprehensive approach to ensure a safe and efficient Lockout Tagout process.

A Step-by-Step Approach to Safe Lockout Tagout:

  1. Prepare for Shutdown:
    Before taking any action, preparation is vital. It's essential for an authorized employee to have a thorough understanding of the equipment, the energies involved, potential hazards, and the methods to control these hazards. This step also involves understanding any additional precautions to ensure safety throughout the process.
  2. Notify Affected Employees:
    Communication is key. Every stakeholder, especially those directly impacted by the shutdown, should be informed about the planned actions, duration of inactivity, and potential process changes during the equipment's downtime.
  3. Shutdown Equipment:
    The actual shutdown requires meticulous attention to detail. It's crucial to follow the prescribed procedure systematically to ensure the safety of both personnel and the machinery involved.
  4. Isolate Equipment's Main Energy Source:
    Equipment often runs on multiple energy sources. Whether it's electricity, water, steam, or gas, ensure that all energy connections are securely isolated.
  5. Apply LOTO Devices:
    With the energy sources disconnected, the next step involves applying the correct Lockout Tagout devices. It's important to note that different types of energies might require different lockout devices for complete safety.
  6. Release Stored Energy:
    Merely disconnecting primary energy sources isn't enough. Equipment often stores energy in various forms—think pressurized gases or spring mechanisms. Identifying and safely releasing or containing this stored energy is pivotal.
  7. Verify Isolation:
    Once every energy source has been addressed, you must double-check. Verification ensures that the machinery remains in a ZERO ENERGY state and poses no threat of unexpected activation. It's also vital to ensure that no personnel are in harm's way before moving on to the next step.
  8. Perform Servicing:
    Only after diligent adherence to the previous steps can maintenance and servicing proceed. With a verified Lockout Tagout process in place, workers can operate with confidence, knowing they are shielded from potential hazards.

Lockout Tagout procedures, while seemingly rigorous, play an indispensable role in ensuring workplace safety. The LOTOTO or LOTOV methods, as prescribed by OSHA 29 CFR 1910.147, act as the gold standard in maintenance safety protocols. Every step, from preparation to the actual servicing, is crafted to minimize risks and maximize safety.

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

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