Safetip #4: Machine-Specific Procedures for Lockout/Tagout

November 18, 2015

In this week’s Safetip, we cover Lockout/Tagout and a reminder to write machine-specific procedures.

What is Lockout/Tagout?

Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) is used to make sure that dangerous machines are properly shut off and not started up before servicing work or maintenance is completed. During the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment, unexpected startup or release of stored energy can result in serious injury (e.g. electrocution, burns, crushing, cutting, lacerating, amputating, fracturing body parts) or death to workers.

OSHA says craft workers, electricians, machine operators and laborers are among the 3 million workers in the U.S. who service equipment routinely and face the greatest risk of injury. Failure to control hazardous energy accounts for nearly 10% of the serious accidents in many industries, according to OSHA. Proper LOTO practices and procedures protect workers from hazardous energy releases.

In addition, LOTO (1910.147) is the fifth most cited OSHA violation for 2015, according to preliminary figures. This is an additional reminder of the importance of proper LOTO procedures.

Write Machine- or Equipment-Specific Procedures

Appendix A of the OSHA LOTO standard provides a generic LOTO procedure. But the BLR report 10 Tips to Implementing a Lockout/Tagout Program cautions against simply filling in a company name and the name of the piece of equipment the procedure applies to.

The BLR report reminds that there is no such thing as a “generic” LOTO procedure. LOTO procedures must be machine- or equipment-specific. Under the standard, a procedure for each machine or piece of equipment must include:

  • A statement on how to use the procedure.
  • Specific procedural steps to shut down, isolate, block, and secure the machine.
  • Specific steps describing the safe placement, removal, and transfer of LOTO devices.
  • Identify of employees who have responsibility for the LOTO devices.
  • Specific requirements for testing machines to determine and verify the effectiveness of lockout devices.

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