Lockout/Tagout is one of the first topics that may come to mind when we think of safety procedures and OSHA regulations. Even though Lockout/Tagout may be well known in name, many employers may be missing one or more key parts of the program. Due to the importance of this program in preventing a variety of injuries, including amputation and loss of life, it is vitally important that a complete and thorough understanding is held. Further, that understanding must translate into each of the elements being effectively implemented.
If your program is missing key elements, the results could be severe injuries, property damage, OSHA citations, and loss of life. Take a few moments to look at the following checklist to ensure your program is compliant with the OSHA Standard:
One frequently overlooked step when de-energizing equipment can be addressed by changing the terminology you use around your location. Instead of saying “Lockout/Tagout” you may want to start calling it “Lockout/Tagout/Tryout.” This refers to the practice of always trying the start button before doing any repairs. It is amazing how many times a machine that is reportedly locked out, will start up when the start button is pressed.
Remember, locks and tags may only be removed by the employee who placed the lock and tag on the equipment. In the event an employee were to forget to remove his or her lock, there must be a very specific Lockout/Tagout procedure as to how, and who can remove that person’s lock. Moving another person’s lock should only be performed after all efforts for removal by the lock, by the lock owner have been fully exhausted.
Lockout/Tagout may seem to be confusing and difficult to implement. However, it doesn’t have to be. Identify the energy isolation hazards at your location, then implement the training and procedures to keep those hazards under control at all times.