Spotlight on Safety: Lockout, Tagout

lock out, tag out

Picture this scenario: A maintenance worker turns off a machine to climb inside and start working on a part. Another worker sees the machine is off, and switches it back on - not seeing the maintenance worker inside the machine. The worker is crushed, maimed, or worse as the machine activates. 

Here is a video interviewing people who knew a man who would have been saved if a lock out/tag out procedure was completed because of this exact scenario.

This wouldn't happen if a lock out/tag out procedure was used. 

Take our quiz to test your tag out/lock out knowledge!

1) Lock out is accomplished by:
a. Locking the gates at your job site.
b. Shutting down equipment for service or maintenance work.
c. Installing a lockout device at the power source so equipment can't be operated.
d. Tagging equipment to indicate it shouldn't be used.
e. None of the above.

2) Attaching a warning tag to a power source or piece of machinery telling others not to operate is called:
a. Lockout.
b. Tag out.
c. Shutout
d. None of the above.

3) OSHA rules require your employer to:
a. Maintain a written copy of the lockout/tag out procedures.
b. Make the procedures available to you.
c. Instruct you in lockout/tag out procedures.
d. All of the above.

4) Lockout/tagout procedures are in place to prevent:
a. The accidental start-up of equipment.
b. Workers from taking shortcuts while servicing equipment.
c. The release of stored, residual, or potential energy.
d. All of the above.

5) Anytime electrical equipment is deactivated for repair:
a. It must be locked or tagged at the point where it can be turned on.
b. Anyone can turn it back on.
c. It must stay off for 24 hours.
d. None of the above.

6) Locks provided by your company for lockout purposes:
a. Must be strong enough to prevent unauthorized removal.
b. Can be used to lock your tool box.
c. Can be taken home when not in use.
d. None of the above.

7) General requirements for your lockout/tagout procedure include:
a. Circuits and equipment must be disconnected from all electrical energy sources.
b. Control devices can't be the only means of de-energizing equipment.
c. Interlocks for electrical equipment may not be used as a substitute for proper procedures.
d. All of the above.
e. None of the above.

8) Tags must have a statement on them that:
a. Refers you to the authorized person.
b. Says what time the tag should be removed.
c. Prohibits unauthorized operation of a switch and removal of the tag.
d. Tells you where the tagout procedures are located.

Answers: 1. C; 2. B; 3. D; 4. D; 5. A; 6. A; 7. D; 8. C

If you missed any questions, check out our step by step guide on lock out/tag out.

What is a lock out/tag out?

A lock out/tag out prevents accidental start-ups by identifying the power source: electricity, stored electricity, stored pressure, or stored mechanical energy. The lock out/tag out then locks the energy source and adds a tag with the name, department, and date. This makes it clear to all workers that the machine is offline and being worked on.

How do I complete a lock out/tag out?

1) If you are in charge of the lock out/tag out, think, plan, and check. Identify all parts of the system that will need to be shut down. Make a list of switches, equipment, and people who need to be involved. Then, plan on how to restart the machine.
2) First, communicate to all the necessary people that a lock out/tag out will be taking place.
3) Second, identify all power sources. Identify electrical circuits, hydraulic and pneumatic systems, spring energy, and gravity systems.
4) Third, Neutralize all power sources by disconnecting electricity, blocking moveable parts, releasing or blocking spring energy, draining or bleeding hydraulic pneumatic lines, and lowering suspended parts into a rest position.
5) Fourth, lock out all power sources. Each worker should have a personal lock that is labeled with his or her name and department. You might also use clips, chains, and lock out boxes.
6) Fifth, tag out all power sources and machines. The tag should explain the reason for the lockout, your name, how to reach you, and the date and time of the tagging. Tag the machine controls, pressure lines, starter switches, and suspended parts.
7) Sixth, do a complete test and double check all of the steps in step five. Do a personal check and attempt to operate valves to test the system.
8) Seventh, once the job is complete, follow your procedures to restart the machine.

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