This week’s Safetip is about Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) and the need to protect all categories of workers, not just those working directly with the equipment.
All Workers Must be Protected as Part of a LOTO Program
LOTO impacts someone working directly on a piece of equipment. But the BLR report 10 Tips to Implementing a Lockout/Tagout Program reminds us that there could be more than one person working on the equipment (e.g. contractors, operators, other workers in the area). Here are all the categories of workers who must also be protected, according to the BLR report:
Affected workers and other workers. Workers in the area who are not participating in the LOTO procedure must still be aware of it and know how to avoid interfering with LOTO in ways that put workers in danger (e.g. trying to start up equipment).
Contractors. Whenever contractors, including temporary employees, service or maintain machines or equipment, the onsite employer and the contractor or other outside employer must inform each other of their respective LOTO procedures. The on-site employer must ensure that its workers understand and comply with the restrictions of the contractor’s or outside employer’s energy control program.
Group LOTO participants. Whenever a group of workers will perform LOTO activities, companies must make sure that a single authorized employee is responsible for coordinating LOTO under the protection of a group lockout or master tagout device. When more than one group or department is involved, a primary authorized employee should be assigned overall hazardous energy control responsibility to coordinate impacted workforces and ensure worker protection.
Workers during shift or personnel changes. Companies must make sure that there are specific procedures in place to ensure the continuity of LOTO protection during shift or personnel changes, to bring an orderly transfer of LOTO device protection between employees.
As part of any LOTO program, organizations should remember to adopt a holistic approach and think about the safety of all workers involved with LOTO, including those who may be only impacted indirectly.