What is Lockout Tagout? Q&A

What is Lockout Tagout? Q&A

By Alex Baker – Spectrum Industrial

Lockout Tagout

1. Should I be using LOTO?  Is the LOTO I have in place fit for purpose?

Be proactive! Try asking yourself the following questions, if you can identify a risk from these then adopting an appropriate LOTO solution is advised.

2. Do you have a lockout need?

Consider the energy sources previously listed, if you have any equipment which utilised any of those then you will probably need a LOTO solution. 

3. What is the isolation procedure for locking out equipment?

If you have identified a LOTO requirement, a comprehensive audit of the equipment needs to be performed to detail all relevant energy and isolation points and a written procedure developed. 

4. How do you currently manage your Lockout process?

Do you have any existing procedures in place?  How are these safely managed? 

5. Do you understand the key methods for your LOTO procedures?

Not all locks are created equal! LOTO padlocks are not the same as a standard security padlocks, and by default a LOTO padlock has 1 unique key per padlock. 

6. Do you need a more advanced system?

For more complex requirements, alternative LOTO key methods can be adopted, such as keyed alike or master keyed systems, etc. These should always be implemented and reviewed by an expert. 

7. When and how do you use permits on site for isolation purposes?

Do you have a current system in place and is this sufficient? 

8. Have you ever had to cut a lock off?

This would indicate that the current LOTO procedure you have is insufficient and needs reviewing urgently. This would apply to both staff and 3rd party contractors. 

9. When was your last Lockout/Safety audit?

Annually is advised, with more frequent visits on high-risk sectors. 

10. Do you display tags on each isolation?

Tags indicate the reason for the lockout and any person(s) involved as well as providing a highly visual deterrent against interference. 

11. Do you have a system in place for controlling contractor lockout requirements? Do they bring their own or do you supply them?

If a contractor supplies their own LOTO equipment there is a real potential risk for cross-contamination with duplicate locks. Consider providing contractor locks to guarantee unique key numbers on your site. 

Always seek professional advice when reviewing and developing a safe Lockout Tagout procedure. Ensure that any procedures are regularly reviewed, and all relevant staff are trained accordingly, with consideration for staff turnover, regulation updated and equipment changes.

*Wherever there is a risk ALWAYS use appropriate Lockout Tagout procedures and equipment.*

Alex Baker

Alex Baker – Lockout Tagout Safety Specialist, Spectrum Industrial

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