Lockout tagout is a safety precaution that is necessary for all industries that deal with heavy machinery that pose great danger to human life. It is a requirement during maintenance that machines be fitted with these safety padlocks until all work is complete. They deny access to the machinery operation and starting area. This safety procedure is necessary because someone might unexpectedly start a machine when the other is at a dangerous position of the machine which could end up being fatal. Some of the accidents that might occur include electrocution, chemical and fire burns or grinding. The machinery could also become permanently damaged.
For many industries, there is usually an assigned employee who carefully follows the necessary procedure. The employee must have undergone necessary training required to do this. It starts by determining which machine is to be serviced and then notifying all employees involved in that line of work to stop all the machines. The employee can only restart a machine after he or she confirms that everybody is in safe position and that all necessary work has been done. The energy source for the equipment being serviced must be identified and isolated from the machine. It is very important that high quality energy isolators are used for this purpose. Then using the lockout tagout the isolators are completely sealed off.
The energy source must be tested and seen if the isolators are efficient. They might have been damaged or of poor quality and still be allowing power to flow to the machine. The technical maintenance usually does this twice or thrice for confirmation. If possible, it is better if the source is completely physically disconnected with the machine.There are machines that store energy for own supply in case the power goes out and they must also be carefully identified. They may discharge and restart a machine while the maintenance team is still doing the work. All possible forms of energy that may bring back the machine to life must be dissipated. They include capacitors, flywheels, springs, pressure vessels and certain mechanical settings like positioning of the machine.
There may be maintenance being handled by different people. In this kind of a scenario, a group lockout tagout may be necessary to have. The safety lock is fitted with spaces that allow multiple padlocks usage with a one employee one padlock policy. The system will be back to life after everyone has opened his or her padlock after confirming a clear coast. Mostly applicable to power companies that have many people working on the same unit. It may also discourage competition of work that leads to poor work. The lockout procedureprotects all employees of the company from any injuries or deaths that may be machine related. It also complies with the necessary industrial legislation requirements imposed by national health officials for safety of employees working in environments posed as risky. LOTO equipment include padlocks, pneumatic ones, electric that require passwords or even hasps. It is also necessary to have tags that display a message discouraging operation of the machine.