Lock-Out Tag-Out Training Essentials

Many times, workers on a job site are hurt or killed because they believed a machine was off, or energy inside it had been safely released when it wasn’t.

Lock-out, tag-out (LOTO) training is a very effective way to keep these types of accidents from happening at your workplace. Research has shown LOTO training saves dozens of lives each year and prevents tens of thousands of injuries.

LOTO is a means of protecting employees by making totally sure that a machine is turned off and any stored energy is released or locked down before employees perform maintenance or work around them. If your company doesn’t have a lock-out tag-out program, it is increasing the possibility of machines unexpectedly starting back up or parts moving at dangerous times. Machines can start up when stored energy is not properly released, or when a person turns the machine on, which can have deadly consequences if safety checks aren’t performed first.


Types of energy to be locked out, tagged out

LOTO is designed to keep potential energy from having disastrous consequences. According to most LOTO standards, hazardous energy sources must be “isolated and rendered inoperative.”

Hazardous energy sources include: pneumatic, hydraulic, mechanical, chemical, thermal and gravitational energy. Being able to identify every potentially dangerous energy source is important to employee safety, as these sources must be isolated and rendered inoperative through LOTO.


Setting up a LOTO program

According to OSHA, there needs to be three basic parts of a lock-out tag-out program: training, written procedures, and inspections.

‘Authorized’ and ‘affected’ staff members must be educated in LOTO safety. Authorized staff members are those who carry out maintenance work on the machines and perform the actual lock-out tag-out procedure. Affected staff members are anyone who may be impacted in any way by equipment being locked and tagged out. Staff members who are thought to be ‘affected’ don’t actually carry out maintenance work, but they still have to be conscious of procedures and their responsibilities.

LOTO procedures are necessary for any machines that run on two or more energy sources. Written procedures should include all crucial information to the employees doing the LOTO procedure as well as include tutorials for locking and tagging out any energy sources, dissipating any stored energy within the machines and verifying the machines cannot be restarted as soon as the lockout has been applied.

Clear and exact documentation is necessary for all lock-out tag-out procedures and this documentation must be kept up to date. Any modifications made to the written procedures must be conveyed to anyone who might be impacted by the changes. Management also must double-check that all the information in the written procedures is accurate, as miscommunication in these instances can have deadly results.

At Labor Temps, we support all programs and initiatives of our client companies, particularly those related to employee safety. Please contact us today to find out how we can assist your organization.