What is Lockout Tagout Training
One of the most important aspects of working life, whether we like it or not, is that of Health and Safety. Every area of industry and commerce has its own set of rules and regulations, and some can be quite specific to the industry in question. Safety in the workplace is of paramount importance. It is the duty of the employer – and a legal requirement – to make sure that the workplace is a safe environment to be in, and this means paying attention to detail in a variety of areas.
Where heavy machinery or equipment is concerned, there is even greater emphasis on the importance of safety in the workplace. Many machines, if not operated with due care and attention, can be dangerous, and one of the most common causes of injury is that of machinery that is started up without safety checks beforehand. This is where lockout-tagout training comes into the picture.
Lockout-tagout, or LOTO, is an almost universal procedure for shutting down and restarting machinery – either for operation or maintenance – that is designed to prevent accidental restarts and injury to persons who may be around the machine at the time. In many countries, it is legally mandated, and it is essential that your workforce has adequate training in this area where it may be necessary.
How LOTO Works
The purpose behind the lockout-tagout procedure is to make it impossible for a machine to be switched on by anyone other than a specifically designated operator. This will be the person who is tasked with shutting the machine down – either as a routine or for maintenance or servicing – and also starting it up again. It is important to know that this sole individual holds that responsibility and, for the duration of the lockout and tagout period, that responsibility cannot be passed to another.
There is a set procedure to the lockout-tagout procedure that can be put simply as follows:
- Operator announces shut-down
- Locate the energy source
- Isolate the energy source
- Lock and tag the energy source
- Prove that the machine is inoperable
These five steps are essential to ensuring the procedure is carried out correctly. It is also essential that suitable locking and tagging equipment is used, and there are plenty of bespoke examples available for the purpose.
The tag is important because it includes the details of the operator responsible for the shutdown and restart procedures. This information will include contact details, for if they need to be called out to start the machine for any reason during the shut-down period.
To ensure that you have personnel on board who are suitably qualified for the job, you need to carry out regular training in the LOTO procedure, and bear in mind that health and safety regulations can be subject to regular changes and updates. Lockout Safety can help you organize this training.
The people you choose need to be aware of the detailed operation of the machine concerned – not only the primary energy source, but also any areas that may retain residual energy, or dangerous chemicals or gases, or any moving parts that need to be immobilised to make the machine safe to work on when not in use – and also be aware of the importance of following the lockout-tagout procedure to the letter.
Keeping on top of health and safety regulations in the workplace means you are ensuring your workforce have a safe and comfortable environment in which to work, and if you stick to the LOTO routine strictly, you will be doing all you can to eliminate the possibility of accidents due to unintended start-ups.