Basics of Locking and Tagging Out a System

Cable Lockout DeviceThe lockout and tagout processes involve more than just putting warnings on a machine or locking its power switch. These comprehensive processes involve coordination, communication, and training. They establish the employer’s responsibility to protect employees from hazardous energy sources during maintenance or service.

Failure to control hazardous energy may lead to serious accident at work. Experts from BradyID.com.sg say that appropriate lockout/tagout practices can safeguard employees from the release of hazardous energy. Workers operating machines and equipment need to have the knowledge and skills required for safe application and use of energy control devices.

Isolating Energy

Lockout refers to the removal or isolation of energy from the system or a machine. It aims to put the equipment in a safe mode by physically locking the system. This involves the use of an energy-isolating device such as line valves or a circuit breaker. The locking device can be anything with the capacity to secure the energy-isolating device in a de-energized position.

Labeling the Lockout

Tagout, on the other hand, refers to the labeling processes used when lockout is necessary. This involves using an indicator or label that may include the reason for lockout/tagout, time of application, or the name of person who the attached the tag or lock. Only authorized personnel who placed the lock or tag are allowed to remove them.

Lockout/Tagout Program Inclusion

The basic steps for the program include preparing for the shutdown, which involves controlling sources of energy and identifying the method of control needed. Other steps include notifying all affected employees, machine shutdown, isolation of system from hazardous energy, and verification of isolation. It is best to make sure that whoever placed the lock on the machine should be present when the machine is re-started.

Employers need to train workers to make sure that they know, understand, and follow the provisions of hazardous energy control procedures. When implementing or enforcing an energy control or lockout/tagout program, it is important to use only lockout/tagout devices approved for the specific equipment or machinery.

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