Lockout/Tagout Procedure Self-Checklist
Lockout/Tagout is one of the first topics that may come to mind when we think of safety procedures and OSHA regulations. Even though Lockout/Tagout may be well known in name, many employers may be missing one or more key parts of the program. Due to the importance of this program in preventing a variety of injuries, including amputation and loss of life, it is vitally important that a complete and thorough understanding is held. Further, that understanding must translate into each of the elements being effectively implemented.
If your program is missing key elements, the results could be severe injuries, property damage, OSHA citations, and loss of life. Take a few moments to look at the following checklist to ensure your program is compliant with the OSHA Standard:
- A written Lockout/Tagout Program has been developed and implemented by a knowledgeable person based on the OSHA standard.
- Machine–specific energy control procedures have been developed for all equipment.
- An Energy Control Procedure log has been developed.
- Periodic Energy Control Procedure inspections are conducted to ensure these procedures are still adequate. (e. g. no modifications have been made to equipment)
- Standardized LOTO locks and have been provided to employees, and are not used for any purpose other than LOTO.
- Initial training is conducted before employees are exposed to hazards. These employees include;
- Authorized – Those who will perform Lockout/Tagout.
- Affected – Those working in areas where Lockout/Tagout procedure is being performed.
- Other – Those who work in the facility but are unlikely to encounter Lockout/Tagout. (e.g. office workers).
- All employees receive annual training regarding hazards associated with LOTO
- Authorized workers are also trained whenever there are changes in equipment or procedures, and re-trained whenever there are deficiencies noted in their use of the procedures.
- Periodic Authorized Employee inspections are conducted to assure that all Authorized workers are following all the requirements and steps in your program.
One frequently overlooked step when de-energizing equipment can be addressed by changing the terminology you use around your location. Instead of saying “Lockout/Tagout” you may want to start calling it “Lockout/Tagout/Tryout.” This refers to the practice of always trying the start button before doing any repairs. It is amazing how many times a machine that is reportedly locked out, will start up when the start button is pressed.
Remember, locks and tags may only be removed by the employee who placed the lock and tag on the equipment. In the event an employee were to forget to remove his or her lock, there must be a very specific Lockout/Tagout procedure as to how, and who can remove that person’s lock. Moving another person’s lock should only be performed after all efforts for removal by the lock, by the lock owner have been fully exhausted.
Lockout/Tagout may seem to be confusing and difficult to implement. However, it doesn’t have to be. Identify the energy isolation hazards at your location, then implement the training and procedures to keep those hazards under control at all times.