Failure to control hazardous energy during servicing or maintenance activities accounts for nearly 10% of the serious accidents in many industries, according to OSHA. Proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from the release of hazardous energy.
The principles and requirements for lockout/tagout apply to most employers whose workers perform maintenance on equipment where the uncontrolled release of hazardous energy, such as kinetic, pneumatic, chemical, electrical, or thermal, is possible, or are exposed to such hazards from the maintenance.
What is lockout/tagout?
Lockout is the process of turning off and locking out the flow of energy from a power source to a piece of equipment or a circuit, and keeping it locked out. Lockout is accomplished by installing a lockout device at the power source. Lockout is accomplished by installing a lockout device at the power source so that equipment powered by that source cannot be operated.
Tagout is placing a tag on the power source. The tag acts as a warning not to restore energy-it is not a physical restraint. Tags must clearly state: Do Not Start (or Operate). Both lock and tags must be strong enough to prevent unauthorized removal and to withstand various environmental conditions
What documentation is required for lockout/tagout?
Certification of periodic inspections, certification of training, and documented procedures for the control of hazardous energy must be available.
What has to be included in the written lockout/tagout procedures?
The documented procedures for the control of hazardous energy must identify the types of energy to be controlled (by magnitude or by type) and must outline the procedures for shutdown, equipment isolation, lockout/tagout device application, release of stored energy, and verification of isolation.