Lockout/Tagout Procedures

What to Cover in Writing

You'll need to develop detailed procedures to control hazardous energy during servicing and maintenance of equipment. Then you'll have to put these procedures in writing. The standard requires you to clearly outline the scope, purpose, authorization, rules, techniques to be used, and means of enforcing compliance. It also requires you to address the following aspects:

  1. A specific statement of purpose, or use of the procedure
  2. Specific steps for shutting down, isolating, blocking and securing machines and equipment to control hazardous energy
  3. Specific steps for the placement, removal, and transfer of lockout or tagout devices and the responsibility for them
  4. Specific requirements for testing machines or equipment to verify the effectiveness of lockout and tagout devices and other energy control measures.

Safe Shutdown Procedures

Depending on your situation you may have one generalized procedure for all your machinery, or individual procedures for different types of equipment.

No matter which type of procedure you're writing, OSHA requires you to cover the same basic steps, and to put them in the following order:

  1. Notify affected employees that lockout/tagout (LOTO) is about to occur on a specific piece of machinery or equipment. Prepare for shutdown by reviewing details or the energy source, hazards, and specific control procedures.
  2. Shut down the machine or equipment using normal stopping or rundown procedures for that machine
  3. Isolate the equipment from the energy source. Bear in mind that there may be more than one energy source. These may include electricity, hydraulic pressure, pressurized steam, residual mechanical energy, compressed gas lines, charged chemical lines, and chemical drain lines, among others. Isolating the equipment from its energy source may involve turning off such items as the operating control, a line valve, or an electrical circuit breaker.
  4. Apply the lockout/tagout devices to the energy-isolating devices. For example, a padlock can be placed through holes so that switch handles are locked in the "off" position and can't be moved.
  5. Release any potentially hazardous stored or residual energy. What employees do here depends on the type of energy and how it's stored. It may mean returning springs to a normal position, or bleeding down, or blocking hydraulic systems. Remember, the machine must be in a zero energy state. If there is any chance that stored energy may reaccumulate, verification of isolation must be continued until the servicing or maintenance is completed.
  6. Verify that energy control measures are effective before starting servicing or maintenance. For example, turn switches or start buttons to the "on" position to ensure the power is actually isolated. Then return them to the "off" position.

Safe Start-up Procedures

Before LOTO devices are removed and energy is restored to the machine or equipment, certain steps are required by the standard:

  1. The work area must be inspected to ensure that nonessential items, such as tools and materials, have been put away and that equipment components are operationally intact.
  2. All affected employees must be notified that equipment will be restarted, and they must be safely positioned out of harm's way during reactivation.
  3. LOTO devices must be removed only by the authorization employee who applied them.
  4. Affected employees must be informed that LOTO devices have been removed.
  5. Equipment must be tested to ensure safe operation.

Certifying Inspections

Finally, you must certify that the required periodic inspections have been performed. The certification must identify the machine or equipment on which the energy control procedure was used, the date of the inspection, the employees included in the inspection, and the name of the person performing the inspection.

Lockout/Tagout Management Checklist

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