In the manufacturing industry, LOTO is an abbreviation for lockout/tagout. In case you don’t know, the LOTO guide is a safety procedure that’s put in place to control hazardous energy and prevent any unexpected startup, which could eventually harm workers.
As vital as lockout/tagout procedures are, you need to keep in mind that they can also cause harm or accidents, especially when they aren’t implemented the right way. To avoid this type of issue, this post will help you understand what Archford feels you can do to apply various lockout/tagout products the right way.
What exactly are the benefits of applying lockout/tagout products?
If you’re very familiar with the manufacturing industry, you’ll agree that machines or equipment often contain hazardous energy when they’re being prepared for a shutdown. Unfortunately, this hazardous energy can harm the workers and any other person around the plant area.
In case you don’t know, hazardous energy is any type of energy that can cause harm to people when released into the air. This energy can come in chemical, hydraulic, pneumatic, electrical, mechanical, or thermal forms.
To avoid exposing your workplace and workers to any of these forms of hazardous energy, it’s important to carry out various lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures. These procedures require you to identify and use the right lockout tagout products. These products help to prevent any unexpected start-up, which could lead to the release of hazardous energy.
Effective tips for successfully implementing LOTO procedures
Today, LOTO is one of the most effective solutions for energy control in the manufacturing industry. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard, organizations need to train their employees on everything relating to hazardous energy control procedures.
To train your employees, below are a few steps you can have then follow to implement the lockout/tagout procedures successfully:
- First, you need to teach your workers how to prepare for shutdown and maintenance. To prepare your employees, the first important step is to ensure each of them understands the different types of hazardous energy that need to be controlled. In addition, you need to ensure they (individually) understand the different means of controlling these forms of energy.
- When you’re sure your workers are fully prepared, you can proceed to the shutdown stage. Before shutting down the plant, it’s important to keep everybody involved (operators and assistant operators of different equipment) aware of the shutdown plan.
- After successfully shutting down, the next procedure is “isolation”. For this procedure, the worker in charge needs to isolate the equipment (which is being prepared for maintenance) from various energy sources. It also involves “valve lockout” or the closing of any valves that are opened during operation.
- The next procedure after isolating the equipment from any energy source is lockout/tagout. This involves locking and tagging out the isolated equipment. Here’s where the need to add relevant lockout tagout products (a good example is lockout padlocks) to the equipment comes into play.
The addition of lockout products will serve as a LOTO guide for other employees to know the equipment is in a safe position and can’t be moved to an unsafe place. Tagout products, on the other hand, are applied to let people get more information about the shutdown and the operator carrying out the process.
- After applying lockout tagout products, the next procedure requires an energy check. This involves checking to understand whether or not the equipment carries hazardous energy. In case of any harmful energy, the maintenance officer needs to relieve the energy and make it non-hazardous.
- The last procedure involves letting another authorized worker double-check and verify that the equipment is completely non-hazardous.
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