Lockout Tagout Procedure Explained

Lockout Tagout Procedur

A Lockout Tagout procedure is dictated by OSHA Reg. 29 CFR 1910.147 and in Canada (CSA Z460). These two Workplace Electrical Safety Standards govern the standards by which Lockout Tagout LOTO programs are executed in all businesses in North America. Local electrical occupational health and safety authorities have jurisdiction to administer, regulate, inspect a company's energy control program to ensure electrical worker safety. LOTO programs are developed to notify affected employees of a potential source of energy and to protect workers from unexpected release of energy and machine guarding of moving parts.


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The following steps are a good example of a lockout tagout procedures plan:

Step 1 - Preparations Before Lockout Tagout
The first step is to prepare to shut down the electrical equipment or machinery.

Before shutting down any electrical equipment or machinery, the authorized electrical employee(s) must be sure they know:

  • The types and magnitudes of energy
  • Any potential hazards that could result from that energy
  • The exact methods to effectively control the hazardous energy
  • They must pay very close attention to other energies such as gravity, electrical, high pressure, etc., that could be stored or reaccumulated after shut-down of the electrical equipment.
  • They must notify all affected electrical employees prior to any shutdown so those workers can remove themselves from the work area and/or any other area that might be potentially hazardous. 


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Step 2 - Equipment Shutdown
Machinery and electrical equipment must be deenergized or turned off or shut down using the exact process your company has established for the machinery or equipment.

A proper and orderly equipment shutdown must be conducted to avoid additional or increased release of hazardous energy due to this equipment shutdown.

If more than one authorized, electrical employee is involved in the equipment shutdown, an authorized, recognized, team leader should insure all employees have accomplished their various tasks and are completely aware that an equipment shutdown will occur.

Step 3 - Energy Isolation
All energy isolating devices must be located and operated to completely de-energize and isolate the equipment from residual energy.

Authorized employees will verify operation of each energy isolating device. If more than one authorized employee is involved in this, an authorized and recognized team leader should insure that all employees have accomplished their work.

Step 4 - Lockout or Tagout Application
Lockout vs Tagout:

  • “Lockout” is a term for the placement of a physical lockout device (like a padlock) on an energy isolating device, in accordance with established OSHA standards, making sure that the energy isolating device and the electrical equipment being controlled absolutely cannot be physically operated until the lockout device is physically removed.
  • “Tagout” is a term used for the placement of a tagout device on an energy isolating device, in accordance with established lockout tagout program. This indicates that the electrical energy isolating device and the electrical equipment being controlled may not be operated until the tagout device is physically removed.
  • Must warn against hazardous conditions if the machine or equipment is energized and must include a message such as Do Not Start, Do Not
  • Close, Do Not Energize, Do Not Operate.


    Lockout Devices

    • A “lockout device” is a device that uses a positive means such as a lock to hold an energy isolating device in a safe position to prevent the energizing of a machine or piece of equipment
    • Only authorized employees can affix lockout devices
    • Lockout devices must be able to hold energy isolation devices in a “safe” or “off” position

    Step 5 - Controlling Stored Energy
    Immediately after applying lockout or tagout devices, the authorized employee must ensure that all potentially dangerous stored or residual electrical energy is:

    • relieved
    • disconnected
    • restrained

    If there is a possibility of stored electrical energy reaccumulating to a hazardous level, continue to verify isolation until the servicing or maintenance is completed or until the possibility of such accumulation no longer exists.

    Before starting work on a machine or piece of equipment that has been locked or tagged out, the authorized employee must that the machine or piece of equipment has been isolated and deenergized.

    Step 6 - VERIFY
    Prior to commencing work on machinery or piece of electrical equipment that has been locked or tagged out, the authorized employee must make certain that the machine or piece of equipment has been isolated and deenergized.


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