Safer Times: The Good Day's Work Blog

lockout/tagout (loto): in osha's top 5 most cited violations

Posted by Good Day's Work on Jun 9, 2016
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LOTO_Extention_Cord-1.jpgWhen you’re that “person” responsible for servicing or maintaining a piece of equipment, you want “peace of mind” knowing that nobody could or any situation could accidently startup that equipment while you’re working on it. The consequences of unexpected startup or a release of energy to employees can result in irreversible damage such as electrocution, crushing, cutting, burns, amputation and yes even death. Every employer must protect their employees with a LOTO program that ensures their safety. A LOTO program is not complicated to develop and implement, in fact there is plenty of help from OSHA and other sources to help you implement a program to protect your employees and your business.

#1 - LOTO Energy Control Written Plan

This is your starting point, it addresses energy control procedures, employee training and periodic inspections to ensure machines and equipment are properly isolated from their energy sources and rendered inoperable prior to any servicing and maintenance.  

#2 – Written, Equipment-Specific Lockout Procedures

Procedures shall be developed, documented and utilized for the control of potentially hazardous energy when employees are engaged in locking out equipment. A separate procedure must be created for each piece of equipment, or group of similar equipment. The procedures should detail specific steps for shutting down, isolating, blocking and securing equipment to control hazardous energy. Steps for the placement, removal and transfer of LOTO devices should be included.   

#3 – Identify and Mark All Energy Control Points

Control of Hazardous Energy states that all energy isolating devices should be adequately labeled or marked unless they are located so that their purpose is clearly evident. Identification shall include the machine supplied, the energy type and magnitude. Locate and mark all energy control points, including valves, switches, breakers and plugs with permanently placed labels or tags. Cross reference each label and tag with the corresponding procedure in the written plan. 

#4 – Training, Communication & Inspections

The employer shall provide training to ensure that the purpose and function of the energy control plan is understood by employees. There are three categories of employees for LOTO, “authorized”, “affected” and “other”. Train employees to understand different roles, demonstrate the importance of communication and conduct a periodic inspection of the energy control procedures at least annually. 

#5 – Provide Proper Protective Products

LOTO devices must be provided by the employer, be standardized by size, shape and color, be distinguishable from locks used for other purposes, identify the individual who applied the lock, be durable, be strong enough to prevent removal except by using excessive force and remain under the control of the individual who attached them. 

Keep Balance In Your LOTO Program

Each of the 5 elements mentioned above are equally important to having an effective program. It is not enough to have a partial program just to show intent. Take the whole LOTO program seriously. When a tragedy happens all eyes are on you and your business. A successful LOTO program followed, reduces the likelihood of a tragedy ever happening to you or your employees.

Topics: lockout-tagout (LOTO), OSHA law & compliance, productivity / goals / motivation

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