What are machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures?

Lockout/tagout (LOTO) is a program that physically removes the sources of power to a machine, locks them out, and has a tag in place that indicates why the power was removed. This is a safety procedure that is used whenever someone is working in or around a dangerous area of a machine to ensure it does not get accidentally engaged. The LOTO strategy has been proven to be an effective way to keep facilities safer. The concepts behind the lockout/tagout program will provide general information about how it can be implemented. In an actual facility, however, safety procedures should be tailored to each specific machine.

Unique Power Sources

Each machine in a facility is going to have its own unique source of power. Some machines, for example, will just be plugged into a normal power outlet. Others will have their own dedicated power sources. Still others will have multiple power sources and even battery backups. It is not enough for a program to simply say ‘remove all power sources and lock them out.’ Instead, a good lockout/tagout procedure will indicate exactly what type of power a machine uses, where it is located, and how it should be properly locked out and tagged out to keep everyone safe.

Different Hazard Areas

Another thing to keep in mind is that every machine is going to have its own specific hazard areas that would make it necessary to employ the lockout/tagout strategies. You don’t need to use lockout/tagout when performing general tasks in areas where there is no safety concern. The LOTO program that is specific to each machine will let everyone know where the danger areas exist, and when it is necessary to cut and secure power before entering them.

Efficient Use of lockout/tagout

Having a machine specific lockout/tagout procedure will help ensure you aren’t wasting time and effort locking and tagging out a machine when performing work that isn’t dangerous. It will also help ensure that all hazardous energy is addressed. This means that a machine specific lockout/tagout program is going to be far more effective, and far easier to follow, than just trying to come up with a generic policy that applies to all machines in the facility.


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