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Lockout Tagout

Need help? Need help? How to create an effective Lockout Tagout programme? In order to comply with health and safety regulations when repairing and maintaining machinery, it is of the utmost importance to have effective lockout tagout procedures in place.

This will mostly involve the isolation of power sources for industrial machinery and equipment when repair work has to be carried out; if power is not properly isolated it can lead to injury or in extreme circumstances, death.

It also involves the use of highly visible tagging systems to properly identify areas of concern, where employees may need guidance or clarity in the operation and use of equipment. By following our guide and using the equipment we supply, you can be sure to create an effective lockout procedure that, when followed, will make certain that your legal obligations are fulfilled. And your employees can work secure in the knowledge that their safety is guaranteed.

Creating an Effective Lockout Programme


The most important starting point is to clarify what your lockout policy will be and how to implement it. You will most probably be in a work place where not all of the lockout equipment available is necessary or applicable, so it is important to identify what specific items you will need.

Keep in mind that the primary focus and function of all lockout equipment is for the control of potentially hazardous energies. This generally means the isolation of power for heavy machinery. Identify all the areas in your workplace that require additional safety equipment by carrying out a risk assessment. For industrial environments, machinery will be an obvious starting point as it will require regular maintenance and from time to time, repairs.

It is good practice to make each lockout procedure machine specific, with clear pictographic signage at the point of use, this ensures that any authorised personnel will have no problem going from machine to machine and performing each maintenance check with ease and clarity.

Training of selected employees on your procedures is of paramount importance. These people will be responsible for carrying out daily checks and the actual installation of lockout devices before repairs or maintenance, as well as updating the information on the tags attached to them when necessary. They will also be responsible for communicating important information to any affected workers, as they must be aware at all times of changes to, and the maintenance schedules for, selected machinery.

Energy Isolation


With a wide range of lockout solutions available, you will find a comprehensive amount of equipment that has been chosen specifically to meet the needs of isolating the power to all kinds of machinery, for clarity we have further split these devices into three main types.


Use these on circuit breakers. There are many different types of circuit breaker toggle switches and we have devices that are designed to fit over all of these. They are installed easily and are a vibrant colour to serve as a simple warning to anyone passing by or operating on or around the isolated machinery.


These devices are primarily a tough cable of nylon or steel and are held securely in place with a stopper sealed shut with a hasp or padlock. For use on gate and ball valves as well as any pneumatically powered pipes and machinery, they inhibit the physical ability of these valves to turn rendering them inert.


There is some overlap between these devices and those for mechanical equipment. However, these are more focussed toward large valve controls, with equipment specifically designed to cover gate valve controls completely, ensuring no one can access them. These units are the most comprehensive way to ensure the valve remains unused while vital maintenance is carried out.

Scafftag and Tagging Systems

As devices are installed to isolate power, they must also be tagged in some fashion to let others know the type of work being carried out. Miscommunication between employees on the operational status of machinery can lead to further incidents and rather than prevent injury can in fact create the very problem your lockout procedure is designed to eliminate.

To complement all of our lockout devices and as a vital part of any lockout programme, we offer a range of easy to use informational and instructional tags should be used at all times. These are to be attached at the point of use, which for machinery, power tools and industrial equipment is wherever the activation controls are situated. For scaffold, ladders and confined spaces it is at the point of ingress.

Securing Lockout Equipment

An important part of any lockout process is ensuring that after the power has been isolated with a lockout device, it is rendered completely secure from tampering or removal by non-authorised personnel. While many of our devices are locked into place with cable ties so they cannot be removed until necessary, others, due to their simple design, need additional security such as padlocks or hasps.

Hasps allow more than one person to lock out equipment (and let others know how many people are working on the machinery). This is a handy fail safe process as it ensures the machinery can be locked out by multiple employees, sometimes this is beneficial as it increases the security of the lockout procedure being carried out on the equipment. No one person should be responsible for the entirety of your lockout programme. Used in conjunction with our safety padlocks this simple equipment helps to maintain the validity of your program and its effectiveness in action.

Communication and Lockout Training

The training of employees chosen to oversee the enactment of your procedures is the final step after deciding the general lockout process for your workplace. Using comprehensive training materials to instruct them, these employees can then utilise the skills they have learned and put lockout procedures into action, whilst being sure to communicate with work colleagues the reasons and nature of the power isolation.


FAQs


Are there any more resources to aid me in creating a lockout process?

Lockout procedures are explained in full in our ‘How to Implement an Effective Lockout Program’ guide. We also have a lockout training USB that details in depth all the procedures to follow to create your lockout process.

How can I be sure which lockout equipment I need for my workplace?

Usually it will be a mix of all types of lockout device. Perform a risk assessment or safety audit to help determine your lockout procedures. Once completed this will inform which devices, tags, signs and storage you require.

How necessary is a lockout procedure?

This depends entirely on your field of work, any industry that uses heavy machinery; manufacturing or large industrial electronic equipment should have some form of lockout procedure in place. Use of power tools can be controlled and monitored with scafftags and even office environments can benefit from using certain lockout items such as power protection covers. If you are unsure, perform the necessary checks needed to set up a lockout procedure, anywhere where power will need to be isolated in order to carry out repair or maintenance work, will require a lockout process.

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