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Lock-out Tag-out Procedure Checklist

Use LOTO procedure checklists to consistently comply with regulations and effectively promote safety in the workplace

Published 25 Aug 2021

What is a Lock-out Tag-out Procedure?

A lock-out tag-out (LOTO) procedure are the steps taken in the workplace by different industries to help keep machines and equipment from unintentional energization while they are under maintenance or repair. While it is required by industry standards and regulations, non-compliance with LOTO procedure is one of the most cited OSHA standards violations.

Following OSHA lock-out tag-out procedure standards by using a procedures template and safety checklist will help ensure that all dangerous machinery and equipment are properly shut off, locked out, and tagged before performing maintenance checks. OSHA estimates that complying with LOTO standards helps prevent 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year.

This article briefly discusses:

What is a Lock-out Tag-out Procedure Checklist?

A lock-out tag-out procedure checklist is a tool used by safety officers and managers to ensure that steps are taken to isolate energy sources when servicing industrial equipment or heavy machinery. This is done to protect workers against hazards such as accidental energization of equipment or exposure to hazardous energy. Millions of machine operators and workers are exposed to risks each day due to non-isolated energy sources; lock-out tag-out procedure checklists aim to protect workers from those risks.

What is the Purpose of a Lock-out Tag-out Procedure Checklist?

Lock-out tag-out procedure checklists should be used alongside employee training on the proper lock-out and tag-out procedures. Here are some important points that show the different purposes of using a lockout tag out procedure checklist:

  • Ensure that electrical and mechanical functions are de-energized and disengaged;
  • Ensure that locking and tagging procedures are being complied with;
  • Ensure that employees are provided individual safety locks and keys;
  • Ensure that all hazards present during the procedure have been managed adequately;
  • Ensure that all necessary details are reported and documented.

What’s in a Lock-out Tag-out Procedure Checklist?

Lock-out tag-out procedures can vary based on the industry or type of machine or equipment. Here are the main sections of a LOTO procedure checklist:

Machine/equipment information

  • Identify the machine or equipment that will be shut down and record the purpose of the LOTO such as maintenance or repair.
  • Identify the energy sources that could cause harm if not isolated such as electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, etc.

Area inspection

  • Check if the area surrounding the equipment has no items that could pose a risk to the workers during the equipment maintenance.
  • Employees who are not going to work on the maintenance should also clear the area


  • Employees are made aware of their responsibilities during the LOTO and maintenance of the machine.

Lock-out tag-out devices

  • Ensure that the proper LOTO devices are available for the job
  • The responsible persons who will apply the devices should be identified

Applying LOTO devices

  • Ensure that all sources of power are isolated before the proper LOTO devices are applied to each energy-isolating device

Removing LOTO devices

  • Clear all the tools and place back machine guarding
  • LOTO devices to be removed by the person who applied them
  • Restore energy to the machine or equipment

What are the Steps in the Lock-out Tag-out Procedure?

Machines and equipment are different in multiple industries and have to maintain or repair them, however, could be potentially dangerous if not done properly and without following the recommended lock out tag out procedures. Here are 5 steps that safety officers and assigned employees can follow to help ensure that LOTO is done properly.

Step 1: Prepare a lock-out tag-out procedure checklist

  • To prepare a lock-out tag-out procedure checklist, a risk assessment is ideally conducted to be aware of the risks with operating and being around the machine or equipment.
  • Determine specific steps for identifying and isolating energy sources of the machine and other mitigation to contain risks.

Step 2: Inform all affected workers

  • Employees should be made aware of a machine or equipment is about to be serviced and that lock-out tag-out is being conducted.
  • Be very specific with the lock-out tag-out steps such as shutting down the equipment of affected employees.

Step 3: Proceed with the shutdown of the machine or equipment

  • Primary and possible secondary sources of energy should be identified and de-energized.
  • Isolate all energy sources and ensure there is no danger of harming the employees.

Step 4: Lock-out and tag-out

  • Lock-out and tag-out the machine or equipment, ensure that shut off is verified, and make sure that employees are aware that it is out of service at the moment.

Step 5: Turn the machine or equipment back on

  • Ensure that there are no tools or unintended items left during the maintenance of the machine.
  • Remove all the LOTO items and follow the steps to turn the machine back online.
  • Inform all the affected employees that the machine or equipment is back in operation.

The steps above should ideally be conducted with the use of a lock-out tag-out procedure checklist to help ensure that all steps are followed and nothing is overlooked to maintain the safety of the workplace.

What is the Difference Between Lock-out and Tag-out?

The difference between lock-out and tag-out, although self-explanatory, is vital because it helps highlight the reasons why proper lock-out and tag-out procedures should always be followed. When devices or equipment are put in for repair, it must be ensured that they are properly shut down or powered off and that there is no chance of sudden and inadvertent energization. Lock-out is the process of placing an energy isolation device on equipment to render it inoperable. The process involves the use of locks that hold an energy isolation device in a safe position and prevent the energization of machines or equipment. Tag-out, on the other hand, is the process of placing a tag or tagging equipment to indicate that they cannot be powered on or operated until the tag or tag-out device is removed.

What are Lock-out Tag-out Devices?

Lock-out tag-out devices play an important role in keeping companies compliant with federal regulations. It is in the employer’s benefit to adhering to these because the regulations also stipulate the employer’s responsibility to ensure that employees are protected from hazardous energy sources and develop safety programs best suited to their workplace and nature of work.

Depending on the nature of work and type of equipment, the lock-out tag-out devices companies use will vary. These devices, however, fall under four main categories.

  • Padlocks
    In contrast to ordinary padlocks, these must be issued and standardized by the employer. They must only be used for lock-out purposes and distinguishable from all other types of padlocks in the workplace. Key retaining padlocks are best for lock-out purposes to ensure that the padlock is locked before the key can be removed.
  • Tags
    Tags are vital because they act as warnings against potential hazardous conditions when equipment or machines are energized. They provide vital information on the lock-out condition of equipment in the maintenance and can even contain a photo of the one responsible for specific equipment. Company-issued tags should be standardized and distinguishable from other tags, include instructions and warnings, able to withstand the environment they are in, and be attached with a self-locking non-reusable device that can withstand at least 50 pounds of pull force.
  • Devices
    There are three main types of devices that will help ensure that energy isolation points are secure in every facility.

    • Electrical lock-out devices are used to help secure the electrical power of equipment in an “off” position.
    • Multi-purpose cable lock-out devices are commonly used for lock-out of several energy isolation points.
    • Valve lock-out devices are used to conceal or physically prevent the operation of valves.
  • Safety hasps
    These are used to allow multiple employees to apply padlocks to a single energy isolation point and are either labeled lock-out hasps or durable steel lock-out hasps.

Powerful Tool for Lock Out Tag Out

Lock-out tag-out procedure compliance can be a challenge in the workplace. iAuditor by SafetyCulture can help organizations better implement safety and compliance in the workplace by providing the tools that safety officers and employees can use to follow LOTO procedures. With iAuditor, you are empowered to:

  • Use LOTO checklists conveniently on mobile devices
  • Take photos of hazards and record action were taken to mitigate them during LOTO
  • Automatically submit reports on steps taken so far
  • Secure recordkeeping using cloud storage
  • Download, edit, and share iAuditor lock out tag out procedure templates for free
SafetyCulture staff writer

Sare Hawes