There are many situations where the lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedure can be used to improve safety in the workplace. Each facility is going to have a different set of situations where the LOTO program should be used. In order to know when it is necessary to use this type of safety procedure, it can be helpful to look at some examples of when LOTO is used by other companies.
What is a LOTO procedure?
The LOTO safety procedure involves the complete de-energization of a machine. LOTO procedures will vary from company to company, but all will typically include the following five steps:
- Announce the shut off of the equipment to employees
- Identify all hazardous energy sources
- Isolate all hazardous energy sources
- Lock and tag the hazardous energy sources
- Ensure the equipment has been effectively isolated.
When to use LOTO procedures
The unexpected energization of machine can seriously injure or even kill someone -- it's critical LOTO procedures are closely followed when dealing with hazardous energy. The following are some of the more common situations where LOTO is used.
Performing Repairs within Heavy Machinery
Whether a machine has broken down, or it is just time for regularly scheduled maintenance, it is important to ensure the machine is entirely shut down before entering. The LOTO procedure will help ensure that the machine does not move or become energized while someone is physically within that machine.
Entering Areas with Moving Machine Parts
There are many dangerous areas surrounding many machines. For example, robotic arms or welding heads that move around to complete tasks. These moving parts of machines can cause serious injuries or even death if someone gets in their way. Removing power from the entire machine, and using the LOTO process, will ensure this does not happen.
Reaching Into a Machine to Remove Damaged Part
If a part gets damaged within a machine, it may become necessary for someone to reach in to remove it. Putting your hand into a machine that cuts, welds, or crushes things has some obvious dangers associated with it. The LOTO procedure will dramatically reduce the risk of having to take this type of action by ensuring the machine is completely shut down before someone works on it.
Many Other Situations
There are many other situations where the LOTO procedure will help to keep people safe in the workplace. In addition to helping protect employees who work with or around dangerous machinery, this procedure can also help to keep the machines themselves safe. When they engage in situations where they shouldn’t, it can damage the machine or things in the area. Following the LOTO program will help to ensure the entire facility can safely operate without problems.
- What is a LOTO procedure?
- What are machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures?
- What is a LOTO station?
- Who benefits from LOTO?
- When should lockout/tagout be used?
- What types of hazardous energy can a lockout/tagout program control?
- What are LOTO tags?
- What is the main goal for a LOTO program?