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Safety Management Insights

How to Create a Safe Lockout Tagout Program

Posted by Doug Shoemaker on Aug 1, 2019 7:09:03 PM


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The following steps will walk you through creating and completing a lockout tagout program the safest way possible.

Step 1. Create detailed Lockout procedures

Identify the equipment to be locked out and its location. Take a picture to help employees identify it as well.

Determine the correct procedure for shutting the machine down and starting it back up and put the procedure into a list format. Once again- include pictures of each step as well as the energy source such as electricity or pressurized air.

Also address secondary energy sources such as heat, fumes, or tension and hazards that may need to be moved or tied down.

Be sure to include the device used to lock out the energy and the method used to verify it is lockout out in this step.  

This procedure should also include how to bring the machine back online in the same step by step process and include exactly how each step should be performed in the safest way possible.

(Example document)

Step 2. Make procedures easy to access

Use binders, document management systems, or Lockout Tagout specific platforms that make these procedures readily available for employees and management. This reduces the friction related to completing the procedures and keeps everyone on the same page.

My recommendation is to use a Lockout Tagout specific platform as this is the most efficient and arguably most cost-effective way to manage the procedures.

Step 3. Notify affected employees

When a procedure is going to be performed all employees that may be affected must be notified.

Post signs or in some way make sure employees are aware of the machine being locked down, how long it will be down for, and any processes that must be performed differently while the machine is locked down.

Step 4. Follow the detailed procedure

The employees completing the procedure must understand it and be able to follow it exactly in order to prevent potential injuries or damage.

As part of this step the employee must also verify the lockout by attempting to start it or some other method.

Once the lockout has been verified, they must attach a lockout or tagout device to the machine to be sure no one will attempt to start the machine while it is being worked on.

Step 5. Train on the importance of respecting locked and tagged machinery

A lockout tagout program is only as good as the training used to teach it. If you have not at this point be sure that all employees understand that voiding a lock or tag and attempting to start a machine could cause loss of life or limb to another employee.

Step 6. Swap correctly during shift changes

If a shift change occurs while a machine is down the individuals that are swapping personal lock or tag devices are both present to make the switch. Notify any employees who are also part of the shift change and were not originally notified of the device being down.

It’s a good idea to have a sign off that employees trading shift must both fill out in order to make the switch.

Step 7. Bring equipment back online

After maintenance or the task being performed on the machine is complete then the procedure must be followed exactly in order to bring the machine back online.

Step 8. Review and Audit procedures regularly

A lockout tagout program is not something you can set and forget. In order to keep employees safe you need to keep procedures up to date. Be sure they reflect any changes to the machinery, the devices, or methods that take place.

This is also a good time to see if there is any way the procedure can be improved.

A Lockout Tagout platform like the one offered by BasicSafe will save you a huge amount of time finding, updating, and managing these procedures!

Check it out here!

If you would like to learn more about lockout tagout programs check out the article below!

Everything You Need to Know About Lockout Tagout