Smart Way of Lockout Tagout

Smart Way of Lockout Tagout - E-Square Blog

March 04, 2020

Many employers have invested a lot of time, money and effort into making their workplace safety programs as effective as possible. Despite continuous efforts by Organizations, Employers, Government and Companies to eliminate hazards and provide safety to employees, Lockout Tagout is still one of the OSHA’s Top ten most cited violations till today. Companies that fail to recognize and control machine hazards face regulatory fines and risk the occurrence of a serious and costly machine-related accident.

Lockout Tagout is a very serious safety practice that helps to provide protection to employees. Equipment and machinery are capable of unexpected start-ups and results in the release of hazardous energy. Can you imagine how dangerous it would be to simply leave hazardous machines or equipment on the industrial work floor with just a verbal warning to employees not to use it? Employees may forget or simply ignore warnings and become severely injured by an unexpected release of hazardous energy.

Therefore, workers need to be smart enough while handling these Hazardous Energies. And remember these simple S.M.A.R.T ways while performing servicing or maintenance task:

You need to have a smart approach and an alert mind to recognize the hidden hazards which can be reached only through proper Lockout Tagout trainings, Periodic inspections & Reviews; moreover complete Co-operation of the whole management along with employees, shop-floor workers and everybody else either directly or indirectly involved in the process, for a Sustainable LOTO SYSTEM!

Survey & Mark all Potential Hazardous Energies:
It is essential to always identify and mark all potential Hazardous energies and their sources to be locked out before performing service and maintenance. Many a time, workers make mistake of not verifying whether they have isolated all the energy sources and whether the machine is in the de-energized state. Also, identify and make sure that you disconnect the right energy source of the right machine and verify de-energized state before undertaking maintenance or servicing.

Make Equipment Specific Procedures:
While performing LOTO, risks are high as multiple energies are involved. Skipping even one step while performing Lockout Tagout can lead to a massive accident. Machine Specific Lockout Tagout procedures are an integral part of any energy control program that protects an employee from any mis-happenings.

Therefore, to improve our Lockout Tagout program, it is essential to perform isolation according to the drafted machine specific procedures which need to be updated as and when required. The Machine Specific Procedures provide a simple and intuitive approach to control the hazardous energies. They need to placed/ posted on the machine or equipment so that they are easily accessible to the workers performing servicing and maintenance tasks.

Apply appropriate Lockout Tagout devices:
Once the main energy source has been disconnected, LOTO devices needs to be applied. When multiple energies are present, different devices are applicable to isolate different energies. Apply appropriate Lockout Tagout devices according to the specific requirements of the machines.

Regular Trainings & Periodic Inspections:
Training is one of the most important steps in the process of Lockout Tagout. It is needed to provide employees with crucial knowledge, skills and motivation to effectively implement a successful Lockout Tagout program.
Supervisors are required to train each worker to ensure that they know, understand and are able to follow the applicable provisions of the hazardous energy control procedures.

Total Co-operation for sustainable LOTO System:
For building a sustainable LOTO SYSTEM, it requires the cooperation of multiple departments and levels of workforce. Implementation also takes time and investment and may require the services of third parties. It can’t all be accomplished at once. It all starts with understanding the importance of isolation, having an intense desire to achieve zero-accident site & taking up the responsibility to build a robust ‘LOTO SYSTEM’ by the management. Lockout Tagout must be considered as an integral part of production planning rather than as a sub-component of a maintenance activity.

A SMART approach towards building a CULTURE that supports the safety of employees through following proper Lockout Tagout procedures saves time & money. It increases teams’ capability to isolate safety and accelerates productivity.

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