The lockout/tagout program is one of the most important safety improvement strategies used in workplaces today. It is a relatively simple system that has helped to save many people’s lives, and prevent even more injuries, over the years. Understanding how lockout/tagout improves safety will show why it is so important to implement in the workplace.
Cutting the Risk of Electrocution
The lockout/tagout program works by physically removing power sources from machinery. This is typically done when a machine needs to have work done on it for a repair, retooling, or any number of other things. When this is being done, it is possible that a wire will be cut or other electrical work is performed. With the lockout/tagout program in place, the maintenance professionals can work confidently that they won’t experience an electrocution because the machine was inadvertently plugged back in.
Reducing Arc Flash Hazards
Lockout/tagout programs can greatly reduce the risk of an arc flash explosion. An arc flash is a powerful burst of energy that can cause severe burns, fires, powerful explosions, and more. This could be triggered by someone working on a machine when it is still connected to the power source. The more voltage in the machine, the more dangerous the arc flash could be. This is why lockout/tagout ensures that the source of the power is removed, and any stored power in the machine is disbursed before work is begun.
Keeping the Machine Disengaged
When someone is working in or around a dangerous machine it is important to ensure the machine remains immobile. Many modern manufacturing machines have many moving arms, welding tools, conveyer belts, and much more. If any of these types of things should be turned on by someone who didn’t realize that work was being performed, the results could be devastating. The lockout/tagout program prevents this by having the power sources physically locked so they can’t be restored.
While the lockout/tagout program is quite simple in its setup, it has been proven to be very effective. Any business that takes the safety of its employees and the machines themselves seriously will want to get a lockout/tagout strategy in place as quickly as possible.
- What are machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures?
- What is a Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) program?
- Where should lockout/tagout tags be placed?
- What is the main goal for a LOTO program?
- What types of hazardous energy can a lockout/tagout program control?
- What other tools should be used in a lockout/tagout strategy?
- When should lockout/tagout be used?