Lockout/tagout (LOTO) is a type of energy control program that protects workers from getting injured by a sudden start-up of a machine or by the release of hazardous energy when performing maintenance activities.
Employers are in charge of of developing a lockout/tagout program to prevent the unexpected release of hazardous energy. As it is required by OSHA, employers are responsible for standardizing lockout/tagout procedures for the facility, provide the appropriate LOTO supplies, and train workers. However, employees also have individual responsibility for their role within the LOTO program.
Elements of a Lockout/Tagout Program
To meet compliance with OSHA's Control of Hazardous Energy regulation, a comprehensive LOTO program should include the following elements:
- Documentation: Create a written lockout document that establishes and explains the elements of your program. Having your equipment energy control program documented (and annually refreshed) is critical to protecting employees and communicating LOTO requirements to them.
- Training: During an OSHA inspection, the compliance officer will look to see if the following employees received proper training:
- Authorized employees: Individuals who perform lockout procedures on equipment and machinery for maintenance.
- Affected employees: Those who will use the machinery that maintenance is being performed on, but do not perform any lockout activities.
- Other: Employees who are in the area of the machinery or equipment being serviced should also receive basic lockout/tagout training.
- Machinery specific procedures: LOTO procedures will vary depending on the equipment that is in need of maintenance so it's important to document the specific tasks needed to safely shut down machinery and isolating hazardous energy.
- Identify energy isolation points: Install permanent labels or tags to clearly identify all energy control points such as valves, switches, breakers and plugs.
- Lockout/tagout devices: Choose the most appropriate and effective devices for your application and each lockout point. Lockout devices are physical locks that prevent unexpected startups because they cannot be removed without a key. Tagout devices, also sometimes known as LOTO tags, are basic labels or signs that can be more easily removed from the energy control point.
Employees have the personal responsibility to follow the procedures of the lockout/tagout program and alerting workers in the area before beginning any tasks to control hazardous energy.
- Where should lockout/tagout tags be placed?
- What makes a lockout/tagout program effective?
- What is a Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) program?
- What types of hazardous energy can a lockout/tagout program control?
- What does LOTO stand for?
- What are machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures?
- When should lockout/tagout be used?
- Is lockout/tagout required by OSHA?
- What other tools should be used in a lockout/tagout strategy?