Lock out Tag out procedure (LOTO Procedure) is a very important safety procedure which helps protect workers carrying out electrical facility maintenance and repairs.
Before we continue, What is Lock out Tag out:
According to OSHA, “Lockout/tagout refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.”
As I go further, I will enumerate the LOTO procedure which should be followed before starting an electrical maintenance activity or repairs. I will also provide a sample of the lock out tag out procedure template.
LOTO Procedure is a safety procedure used during the maintenance/repair of electrical facilities to prevent accidental or unauthorized access to electrical power sources. This system works to prevent re-energizing an electrical facility by unauthorized personnel when the maintenance work is still in progress. Re-energizing an electrical facility during maintenance activity could result to first degree electric shock, severe burns or electrocution.
With the LOTO Procedure, all individuals working on a same circuit or equipment will have their own personal lock which they use to secure the disconnected device before they commence the maintenance/repair work.
This procedure is called the lock out tag out procedure (LOTO Procedure) because after locking out the disconnected circuit being worked on, it will also require that each worker fills out a tag which is expected to be hung from their lock. The tag will contain two (2) important information:
- The name of the worker
- The description of the work being done.
Briefly, let us enumerate the LOTO Procedure:
Before beginning service or maintenance, the following steps must be accomplished in sequence and according to the specific provisions of the employer’s energy-control procedure:
- Prepare for shutdown: Notify everyone in the area about the lock out Tag out procedure.
- Shut down the machine: All the machines connected to the service line has to be shut down.
- Disconnect or isolate the machine from the energy source(s): Energy source shut off from the equipment.
- Apply the lockout or tagout device(s) to the energy-isolating device(s): Each worker working on the facility will apply his lock and tag to the lock out device. By so doing, the device cannot be re-energized without all the team member removing their lock.
- Release, restrain, or otherwise render safe all potential hazardous stored or residual energy. If a possibility exists for re-accumulation of hazardous energy, regularly verify during the service and maintenance that such energy has not reaccumulated to hazardous levels; and
- Verify the isolation and de-energization of the machine.
At the end of the maintenance activity, the equipment has to be removed from the lock out tag out. Before this, the working area should be inspected with the equipment to be sure it is safe to be put back in use. When the equipment is certified safe for use, all the locks and tags can be removed.
See the LOTO Procedure template here