Controlling Hazardous Energy
Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) protects a worker by preventing others from turning on equipment or from a release of energy while working on or servicing equipment & machinery. Energized systems such as water, air, gas, and sewer need to be isolated with LOTO as a part of the process. LOTO controls hazardous energy.
As per Fiore & Sons Best Practice Manual section 21.0 Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout), there are several precautions necessary to effectively make a system safe to work on to prevent an inadvertent restart of equipment. Unexpected restart could cause injury, a spill, or damage to equipment.
LOTO Safety Protocol
- Preparation: Before starting the process to lock out equipment or a system, inform the foreman or supervisors of the pending work. Lower buckets, blades & attachments to a neutral position and warn others in the nearby area of the planned work. Isolate valves and breakers connected to the work. Supervisors should notify affected workers about the shutdown, those who work with the machines or equipment, and those who work in the area where LOTO will be done.
- Authorization: Only authorized persons are to install LOTO tags & locks. All Mechanics, Equipment Manager/Supt and Foremen are authorized persons. The authorized persons are trained in the company LOTO program and provided the supplies to execute it.
- Responsibility: The Tag is to include the name of the person who installed along with his phone number. Do not use paper, wrappers, cardboard, ribbon, or other less formal means. Use the appropriate tag and locks.
- De-Energize: All power sources are to be disconnected and locked in the off position. The key removed from the ignition or master switch disabled. Shut off the power sources and release hydraulic and air pressure. Do this so no one can accidentally turn on the equipment or put flow and energy into hoses, pipes, or cables of the system.
- Verification: Before beginning work, the person responsible for the LOTO should ensure it is locked out. This is referred to as “Lock-Tag-Try-Begin”. Make sure the system will not restart and the correct shut offs were used.
- Reinstate: After the work is completed, remove all tools, and replace guards. Notify all employees the tags/locks will be removed and the equipment/system is repaired, back in service, and ready to be restarted. Employees are to stay back and clear in case of failure during restart.
- Removal: No one else can remove another’s lock & tag. The Mechanic or Foreman who placed the tag is to be called when a tag or lock needs to be removed. The Mechanics or Foreman’s superior can authorize removal if they are knowledgeable of the work/system being secured and have made repeated attempts to contact the person who placed the tag. If there is doubt, then the system is to stay locked out with the equipment out of out of service.