Lockout Tagout Steps

By R.W. Hurst, Editor

Well-defined lockout tagout steps are essential because hazardous energy can cause serious injuries or fatalities if not controlled properly. Lockout tagout steps provide a systematic and standardized approach to isolate and control hazardous energy sources during servicing or maintenance activities, which prevents the unexpected startup or release of stored energy. In addition, the well-defined steps ensure that all energy sources are identified, isolated, and verified and that all authorized employees involved in the LOTO procedure understand their roles and responsibilities.

Following a set of clear and specific lockout tagout steps, the LOTO procedure helps minimize the risk of injury or death from the unexpected release of hazardous energy. It also ensures that all residual energy sources are properly controlled, and that the equipment or machinery is safely de-energized, maintained, and re-energized. In addition, the well-defined LOTO steps provide a consistent and reliable process that can be applied to a wide range of equipment or machinery, regardless of the industry or sector, promoting workplace safety and efficiency.

Lockout Tagout is governed by the occupational safety and health administration (OSHA).

The lockout tagout steps for performing lockout tagout (LOTO) procedures are generally as follows:

  1. Prepare to shut down the control of hazardous energy: The employee needs to identify the machines or equipment that needs to be serviced and all energy sources that need to be isolated. They should also ensure that all necessary tools and equipment are in good condition.

  2. Notify affected employees: The employee must inform all affected employees of the lockout/tagout procedure and ensure they are clear of the equipment or machinery that will be serviced.

  3. Shut down the equipment: The employee must shut down the equipment or machinery using the routine shutdown procedures.

  4. Isolate all energy sources: The employee must isolate all energy sources, using lockout devices, like locks and tags, to prevent the equipment or machinery from being energized during the servicing activity.

  5. Release any stored energy: The employee must release any stored energy that could pose a hazard, such as bleeding off hydraulic pressure or allowing a motor to come to a complete stop.

  6. Verify that equipment is de-energized: The employee must verify that all energy sources have been isolated and that the equipment or machinery is safe to work on.

  7. Perform maintenance or servicing: The employee may perform maintenance or servicing activities on the equipment or machinery.

  8. Apply LOTO devices: Once maintenance or servicing activities have been completed, the employee must reapply all lockout/tagout devices to the energy-isolating devices.

  9. Verify that equipment is safe: The employee must verify that the equipment or machinery is functioning properly and that all employees are clear of the area before resuming regular operation.

  10. Remove LOTO devices: The employee must remove all lockout/tagout devices and re-energize the equipment or machinery.

Throughout the lockout tagout steps, the employee must maintain clear communication with all affected employees and follow all safety procedures to prevent accidents or injuries. In addition, proper training and supervision are essential for ensuring that LOTO procedures are performed safely and effectively.