Performing Lockout & Tagout - The Proper Way
Performing Lockout & Tagout - The Proper Way.
The lockout and tagout process for equipment isn't 100% effective unless it's performed 100% correctly. There is no room for error in a procedure that is meant to prevent accidents and ensure safety. While it might be a seemingly simple process, the steps listed below need to be taken very seriously, in exact order and without skipping or ignoring a single step. This will ensure an effective procedure that will minimize any threats or hazards.
1. Notify Employees
It is critical, aside from signage, to notify all employees of a machine or system that is going to be under lockout/tagout. Employees must understand that the machine, or equipment is non-operational and may not be used in any fashion until it has been repaired or maintained and is fully restored to it's normal functioning state.
2. Identify the Energy Type
An authorized specialist or designated service person should identify the energy type of the item that is being locked/tagged out. They should also have a containment plan in place should there be a breach. The plan should also include the possible magnitude of the breach.
3. Disable the Equipment
If the equipment is functional or dysfunctional and running, the authorized service person should determine how to properly and effectively bring the equipment to a stop
4. Deactivate and Isolate
Once the equipment is shut down or has been brought to a safe stop, it must be isolated and/or separated from it's energy source. This will avoid and completely prevent any accidental or unintentional functioning of the equipment.
5. Use Lockout Tags
Once stopped, shut down and disconnected from it's energy source, the equipment should be locked out and tagged out with the proper tags and locks. This indicates that the equipment is not functional and should not be used.
6. Release Residual Energy
Any sort of stored energy or residual energy must be relieved from the equipment. This ensures that any energy built up within the equipment is drained and poses no threat. An unexpected release of stored energy could cause serious or fatal injury and this step should be of serious concern for the lockout/tagout procedure. Stored or residual energy could include springs, capacitors, hydraulics, flywheels, magnetics, compressed air/water/gas and steam.
7. Verify Energy Disconnection
Verify that the equipment has been fully disconnected and in no way, shape or form connected to any source of energy, nor does it contain any residual energy. Before verification of disconnect, the equipment should be in isolation. With no employees or bystanders in the area of the equipment, the authorized lockout/tagout personnel should verify the proper disconnection by attempting to turn on the equipment. If it doesn't power on, it has been properly prepared for maintenance. Be sure to return the equipment to its "off" position after verification.
8. Lockout Accomplished
Once the 7 steps above have been properly executed, the equipment is deemed to be in full and proper lockout. Service, maintain or repair as needed and be sure to utilize proper PPE practices.
There you have it! When it comes to hazards, it's always better to be safe than sorry. Print out the list above and place it in a visible place, or make copies for distribution whenever lockout is required.