Lockout tag out is a procedure that ensures that machines are off and safely de-energized to avoid any unexpected startup during service work and maintenance. Usually, Lockout tagout equipment is put in place to keep energy isolation devices off. This procedure is very safe because no one can remove the lockout equipment without a key or other unlocking means such as using bolt cutters. On the other hand, tag out equipment cannot provide safety by itself, unless it is used hand in hand with lockout equipment and lockout documentation.
The two main pieces of equipment for a lockout tag out procedure are a lock and a tag. The lock is usually connected to the power source to prevent it from being switched on. The tag is a warning sign or words of caution, attached to the lockout equipment to caution people from switching on, plugging in, or tampering with the machine.
The lockout tag out equipment prevents employees from being victims of fatal accidents and injuries while working. It also helps prevent the unintended release of hazardous energy and the sudden unintended start of machines. This equipment helps in plumbing systems, machinery, and electric equipment.
What Are The Characteristics Of A Good Lockout Tag Out Equipment?
Many accidents can be avoided by using the right lockout tag out procedures and using high-quality lockout tag out equipment. The equipment must have the following characteristics:
- Tag out equipment should be strong and long-lasting. They shouldn’t be affected even when they come into contact with corrosive chemicals like acids or wet substances.
- Tags must be unique in color, size, shape, format, and print. Tags are supposed to be visible and understandable giving clear instructions such as ‘Do Not Open’, ‘Out of Service’ ‘Do Not Operate’, or ‘Danger’.
- Locks should be very tight and reliable to avoid any premature removal. They should only be removable by exerting force and by using special metal cutting tools or bolt cutters.
- Tags are attached with a one-piece nylon cable tie because they are strong and able to survive in any environment. A good tag attachment has 50 pounds unlocking strength and should be non-reusable.
- Your lockout tag out equipment should have the name of the authorized personnel who is handling the machine.
- Lockout tag out equipment must be provided by the employer to ensure that they are unique and of good quality.
Examples of Lockout Tag out Equipment
Some examples of lockout tagout equipment are:
- Padlock devices — They are physically put on the electrical system making it hard to access. The padlock should be the right size, secure and distinguishable from other padlocks. Add a visible warning sign such as ‘Warning’ or ‘Danger’ and the name of the person who put the padlock.
- Clamp-on breaker devices are red, and they ensure that power can’t be restored
- Hasp — gives liberty for more than one worker to put their padlocks on an energy device if more than one worker is working on the machine.
- Valve lockouts — these are made to prevent the opening of fluid or gas valves during repair and maintenance