5 steps for Building a Lockout Tagout Plan

Lockout tagout are processes or procedures that are used in factories, industries or research institutes to ensure that faulty machines are properly shut off all through the maintenance period. Before maintenance commences on the machines, all power supplies are cut off to prevent accidents and injuries. Then lockouts and tagouts are affixed in this circuits and the name of the worker who fixed the lockout is written on the back of the tagout. This person is the only one who can unlock this locks because it requires a key which he is the one who can keep it.

As mentioned earlier, lockout and tagouts prevents the occurrence of accidents and some safety measures need to be taken into account to prevent this potential hazards from occurring. This calls for a well-defined plan of building and fixing lockouts and tagouts and this plays a very important role in the workplace. Before one start building or fixing a lockout plan, there are some 5 steps that need to be followed to the letter.

Identifying all the equipment.

This is the first step when designing a lockout plan and one identify all the machines and devices which need to be locked out or tagged out. This machines may be in need of maintenance all they are completely faulty and would cause hazards to the workers if they continue running in such conditions. There are some questions which need to be answered when identifying this machines; will this machines be in need of power source after maintenance? Does a worker need to enter into the machine when working with them or are there movable parts in the machines which can potentially cause accidents? All this questions will help in identifying the machines correctly.

Creating procedures.

Most accidents or poor maintenance occurs due to lack of clearly outlined procedure. These procedures can either be in terms of program documentation or regular inspections of lockouts and tagouts. One need to follow the correct procedure when disabling the machines from their power sources to prevent injuries. Good lockout and tagout plan can help in saving lives of workers and can also help in minimizing insurance costs and equipment ware and tare.

Providing employees with devices

The employer or the contractor need to equip his or her employees with lockout and tagout devices when working. To lock an equipment effectively, there are procedures and guidelines the worker need to follow to prevent accidents from occurring; the worker should inform his or her co-workers before locking an equipment, he or she should review all the lockout procedures and shut down the machine first. The other procedure is locking all the power supplies and dissipate any stored energy in the machines. Finally, he or she should ensure there is no energy in the machine before commencing maintenance, by conducting zero-energy tests.

Training the workers.

The employer and the contractors should train their workers on the policies and procedures of applying lockout and tagout devices. All categories of workers need to be trained regardless whether they are authorized, affected or the others.

Annual audit.

Finally, the employers need to conduct an inspection and verification of lockout or tagout equipment once in a year. During the time of inspection, both authorized and affected worker`s responsibilities have to be examined by the inspector. The employer is supposed to verify that the inspection was carried out correctly and at the right period. After auditing, a certificate is issued to confirm that auditing was done on the lockout and tagout equipment.

Lockouts and tagouts are important in any workplace as they reduce the possibilities of accidents from occurring. These procedures also prevent the release of stored energy from the machines which would cause injuries to workers and in some cases minimizes insurance costs.


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Kevin Jacobs

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