Published 22 Aug 2022
What is a Lock Out Tag Out Procedure?
A Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO) procedure is a list of 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.
A lock out tag out procedure checklist is used before servicing industrial equipment and heavy machinery to ensure that workers who maintain and repair do not encounter incidents caused by unintended energization and get exposed to harmful energy. Use this checklist to:
- Record the nature of work, hazardous energy sources, and the employees involved in the procedures.
- Perform a site walkthrough to ensure that the area is cleared from unnecessary tools and check if employees are trained and notified about the procedure.
- Attach photo/video evidence directly during walkthroughs using a mobile phone or tablet.
- Review the quality and efficiency of LOTO devices being used.
- Evaluate if the step-by-step procedure was followed when applying and removing LOTO devices.
- Rate the overall LOTO process and provide recommendations.
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;
- the contents of a lock out tag out procedure checklist;
- steps of LOTO;
- types of LOTO devices;
- a powerful tool to help ensure that organizations consistently perform proper LOTO procedures; and
- free, ready-to-use lock out tag out procedure checklist templates.
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’s in a Lock Out Tag Out Procedure Checklist?
Lockout tagout procedures can vary depending on the industry or type of machine or equipment. Here are the main sections of a lock out tag out procedure checklist:
- Identify the machine or equipment that will be shut down and record the purpose of the lockout/tagout 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.
- 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.
- Employees should be informed that a machine or equipment is about to be serviced and that a lock out tag out procedure is being performed.
- 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
- Primary and possible secondary sources of energy should be identified and de-energized.
- Ensure that all sources of power are isolated before the proper LOTO devices are applied to each energy-isolating device.
- Lock out the machine or equipment, ensure that shut off is verified and that employees know that it is out of service at the moment.
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.
- Inform all the affected employees that the machine or equipment is back in operation.
Lock Out Tag Out Steps
Also known as LOTO steps, follow this comprehensive guide on how to properly shut down equipment:
- Preparation – During this stage, the authorized employee should investigate to identify the equipment, machine, or process to be shut down. As a safety measure, this step should also recognize which energy resources must be controlled and highlight all the potential hazards that come with it.
- Notification – In the second stage, all affected personnel should be notified of the shutdown. Essential items to communicate can include information such as the equipment to be locked out, the reason behind it, the estimated time frame of the shutdown, the authorized personnel for the shutdown, as well as who to contact for clarifications and questions.
- Shutdown – After the planning stage, the actual equipment shutdown begins. For this process, follow the shutdown procedures established by the manufacturer or the workplace itself. Turn off the controls and make sure that all the running parts of the equipment come to a total stop.
- Isolation – This stage, also called de-energization—is the part where the authorized person will be needing to remove the equipment from any energy sources it is connected to. Some equipment may need to be shut down by turning off power from the breaker or by simply shutting a valve.
- Dissipation – In a simpler term, this is the process of removing possible residual energy still in the equipment. Depending on the type of equipment or power source, residual energy can either be disconnected, restrained, relieved, or made non-hazardous.
- Lock Out/Tag Out – During this actual lock out/tag out stage, the equipment is locked using energy-isolating devices. The tag to be attached, meanwhile, should contain the name of the person who performed the lockout and other additional information needed.
- Isolation verification – In this last stage, all the steps conducted have to be re-checked to ensure that everything is as it should be. Treat this as an opportunity to test the equipment by activating the process controls and observing the result. Non-activation of the equipment is a confirmation that energy isolation is completed.
Types of LOTO Devices
Depending on the nature of work and type of equipment, the LOTO devices that companies use will vary. These devices, however, can be classified into four main types:
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 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.
Energy Isolating Devices
These devices help ensure that energy isolation points are secure.
- 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.
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.
Lock Out Tag Out Assessment Tool
Lock out tag out procedure compliance can be a challenge in the workplace. SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor) 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 the actions taken to mitigate them during LOTO
- Automatically submit reports on steps taken so far
- Secure recordkeeping using Cloud storage
- Download, edit, and share lock out tag out procedure checklist templates for free
The purpose of a lockout/tagout checklist is to ensure that:
- Electrical and mechanical functions are de-energized and disengaged;
- Locking and tagging procedures are being complied with;
- Employees are provided individual safety locks and keys;
- All hazards present during the procedure have been managed adequately;
- All necessary details are reported and documented.
Download Free & Customizable Tag-out Checklist Templates
Use this OSHA lockout tagout checklist to assess if lock out tag out procedures are followed by employees before commencing with maintenance checks. With the use of SafetyCulture (iAuditor), you can capture photo evidence of non-compliance with safety regulations while the lock out procedure is ongoing. Notify safety managers if problems occur during the inspection for immediate action and resolution.
This OSHA lock out tag out procedure template can help you check the following:
- Machinery or equipment de-energized or disengaged and locked-out during cleaning or servicing, among others
- Electrical enclosures
- Control circuit also disconnected and locked-out
- Equipment control valve handles locked-out
- Personal safety locks for the employees
- Employees who are working on locked-out equipment by their locks or accompanying tags are identified
- Safe job procedure established and followed
Use this toolbox talk meeting record before performing the lockout/tagout procedure and servicing equipment. Gather the team and discuss what needs to be done before, during, and what to watch out for in order to solve issues before problems occur. Record what was tackled during the LOTO toolbox talk and have all participating members sign off.
A risk assessment is conducted to determine all risks involved in the operation of machines and equipment. Use this risk assessment to identify hazards and determine controls and risk mitigation that can help conduct an effective lock out tag out procedure.
Most workplace incidents and injuries go unreported, making it difficult to identify root causes and prevent future accidents from occurring. Keeping accident logs can help determine if safety measures are strictly followed in the workplace. Use this accident injury checklist to record accidents caused by unisolated energy source and non-adherence to LOTO procedures. Record information of the injured person, injury details, and the contributing factors to the accident. You may also document emergency services involved, hospitalization information, and witness statements. Use SafetyCulture (iAuditor) to compile all accident records for proactive safety planning and accident prevention.