Lock Out Tag Out Procedure Checklist

Use lock out tag out procedure checklists to consistently comply with regulations and effectively promote safety in the workplace

Published 1 Jul 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.

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’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:

Machine/equipment information

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

LOTO 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

  • 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.,  
  5. 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.   
  6. 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. 
  7. 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:

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.

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.

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.

Lock Out Tag Out Assessment Tool

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:

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.

SafetyCulture staff writer

Sare Hawes