Safetip #46: Lockout/Tagout Procedures on Mobile Devices
Each Machine Must Have Its Own Lockout/Tagout Procedure
Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) is used to ensure that machines are properly shut off and not able to be started up again prior to the completion of maintenance or servicing work. This helps to avoid unexpected startup or release of stored energy that can result in an injury or fatality.
Mobility Improves Access to Machine-Specific LOTO Procedures
Since LOTO procedures are needed for each machine or equipment, the use of mobile devices (smartphones, tablets) to access procedures can greatly improve the efficiency of a LOTO program. An article in EHS Today makes the point that direct and immediate access to electronically-stored LOTO procedures is better than searching through binders of information, or flipping through pages of torn or dirty written procedures hanging from machines.
For example, authorized workers can pull up the required LOTO procedure through a mobile device by using a simple search function with a machine ID number, or scan a barcode or QR code on the control panel to bring up the exact procedure for the machine. Once a procedure is accessed on the mobile device, workers can be guided through each step, to make sure that energy sources have been isolated and secured through the appropriate lockout devices.
In addition, harsh working environments may prohibit placing laminated hard copy LOTO procedures in extreme conditions of weather, temperatures, chemical exposures or where metal-detectable materials are required. Thus access to LOTO procedures trough mobile devices becomes more practical.
According to the EHS Today article, use of mobile devices to access machine-specific procedures not only provides immediate access to safety-related information, but it can also enhance the quality of safety data and the efficiency of a safety and health program. Other examples where mobile solutions improve safety and health include incident reporting and real-time safety alerts.
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