How do valve tags work with a LOTO system?

Valve tags are a great resource in most facilities and provide a lot of safety benefits. While most of the time they will be installed as a permanent source of information about the valves they are attached to, they can also be used as part of a lockout/tagout program. This can help to keep employees who are working with or around hazardous pipes and valves safe.

What is the lockout/tagout procedure?

Lockout/tagout is commonly associated with electrical systems. The system is invoked whenever someone needs to perform work on a machine that could be dangerous. They will physically remove all power sources to the machine, place a lock on the power source so that it can’t be restored accidentally, and then add a tag to that lock to alert people to why it is in place. Facilities that use this safety standard find a dramatic reduction in the risks for those working in these areas.

The lockout/tagout system can also be used on valves that control potentially hazardous solutions or gasses. When someone needs to work in a machine that uses hot steam, for example, it is important to ensure the valve to release the hot steam is not opened while the person is in the area. To help prevent this possibility, they would close the valve, lock it in place, and then use a valve tag to alert everyone to the reason why it is locked closed.

In most cases the valve tags used for this type of program will be made out of paper or cardboard since they will only be in place for a short amount of time. In addition, the whole time that this type of tag needs to be used, the valves will be closed so there is little risk of it getting damaged. Implementing a lockout/tagout program (for both electrical systems and pipe valves) is a great way to improve the overall safety of a facility.


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