How to Implement an Effective Lockout Program
Why is a Lockout Program Important?
- It will assist staff in knowing their responsibilities when it comes to equipment safety
- Helps to ensure staff have been trained appropriately, in line with their responsibilities
- Confirms the provision of proper equipment for effective implementation of lockout procedures
- Helps document and identify all hazardous machinery and energy sources
- Regular auditing of the program will ensure changes to staff, power sources and equipment are always accounted for
- All of the the above will help prevent accidents, injuries, and death
Recommended steps for an Efficient Lockout Program
A. Create Written Policy/Procedures
The lockout tagout policy should identify the purpose and scope of the lockout program, authorised personnel, enforcement policy, equipment needed, training methods and special circumstances such as group lockout situations.
Written lockout tagout procedures should also be formulated as these will serve as a reference for authorised employees, helping them to reduce mistakes and carry out the lockout process efficiently. It is good practice for the lockout procedures to be machine specific, contain graphics/photos and be easily located at the point of use.
A typical loto procedure would include the following steps:
1. Notify all affected employees that maintenance is required on a machine and that it will be shut down and locked out
3. Prepare for shutting down the energy source by referring to the part of the procedure document which details the type, magnitude and hazard potential
4. Shut down the equipment using the normal stopping procedure
5. Isolate the equipment from relevant energy sources
7. Secure tags, and fill out required tag information accurately and clearly
8. Restrain or dissipate any stored or residual energy that may be present
9. If applicable repeat steps 6 and 7 for any devices blocking the residual energy
10. Verify the equipment is isolated from energy sources:
- Check hazard areas are clear of personnel
- Test circuit potential with an instrument
- Verify isolation by activating controls on the equipment
- Deactivate all controls after testing
B. Identify and Label Energy Control Points
It is a good idea to conduct a risk assessment in order to identify all energy control points. These could include switches, valves, plugs and breakers and it is advisable to clearly mark these with permanently placed labels or tags.
Using the tags and labels, provide information about the purpose of the control point and how it relates to the defined lockout procedure.
Any new equipment and energy points should be reassessed on an ongoing basis.
C. Ensure Provision of Proper Lockout Tagout Equipment
Provision of the correct equipment as defined in the procedures is very important.
Please see our range of lockout tagout products.
D. Train Employees
Train all relevant staff in the written policy. To ascertain the level of training needed it is useful to consider which of the following categories an employee falls into:
An authorised employee requires the most comprehensive training It can be defined as someone responsible for the actual locking out and tagging of equipment and energy sources such as maintenance staff. They should be trained to locate, control and isolate hazardous equipment and sources of energy, referring to the lockout procedures which have been formulated.
This type of employee may be affected by the lockout/tagout process, for example, works or operates machinery in the area where maintenance is being carried out. Affected staff should be trained about the process so they do not attempt to remove lockout devices or interfere with the isolation of equipment.
Any employee, visitor or third party who may encounter locked out equipment or enter an area where lockout tagout is taking place. They should be trained in the significance of the maintenance process and dangers involved.