REDwire Five elements of an effective lockout/tagout program

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Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) is a process to control energy hazards for preventing accidental startup or release of stored energy during setup, maintenance and servicing of equipment.

Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) is a process to control energy hazards for preventing accidental startup or release of stored energy during setup, maintenance and servicing of equipment. It’s a necessary process to keep your employees safe on the plant floor. 

There are five essential elements of an effective LOTO program:

1. Program: The LOTO program documentation sets the overall policy and expectations for LOTO at your company. It also defines how you will implement and execute all other elements within your program. An effective energy control program includes energy control procedures, employee training and periodic inspections, which jointly function to ensure that hazardous energy sources are isolated and rendered safe before and while any employee performs servicing or maintenance on machinery or equipment. The procedures must clearly and specifically outline the scope, purpose, authorization, rules and techniques that employees are to use to control hazardous energy and the means to enforce compliance. The program/policy should be written clearly so employees can understand it, and it should remain dynamic so it can change with conditions and regulations. 

2. Procedures: LOTO procedures are required for instances where there are multiple energy sources and/or multiple crews, locations, employers or specific sequences. In many cases, individual procedures are also needed for equipment with a single energy source. The procedures must be specific to each piece of equipment, providing adequate detail as to how and where to specifically isolate and control the energy sources present for that equipment. The LOTO procedures should contain instructions, including: where and how to de-energize the energy load on the equipment; how to release hazardous electrical, mechanical or other stored energy; and how to verify the equipment is de-energized and cannot restart in the locked out condition.

3. Training: Proper training is a necessary component of any LOTO program. It helps provide the information and equipment your team needs to begin implementing an effective LOTO program. Employees such as maintenance personnel who execute LOTO processes must be trained to execute the specific LOTO procedures they are expected to utilize, while employees such as machine operators or office personnel who may encounter equipment that has been locked out should receive awareness training on the company’s lockout program.

4. Devices: Protective devices should be robust, unique and easily identifiable. Other requirements involve a method of including a lock and identification of the lockout device installer. 

5. Review: Program inspection and review must outline a methodology for ensuring the program remains effective for employee protection. This must include at least an annual review of the overall program documentation, as well as a review of the equipment-specific procedure documents and observations of execution of those equipment-specific LOTO processes.

Implementation

To successfully implement a LOTO program, it is important to understand the five elements above. Panduit offers a safety solution consisting of relevant products and tools that help mitigate risk created by hazards in the workplace. 

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Panduit Canada Corp

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