It is needless to mention that industrial machinery can be deadly whenever they are used and this is the reason why they are designed along with safety apparatus. In many cases, it is even mandatory for the operators of the machinery to wear protective gear. But did you know that industrial equipment can also be dangerous when they’re not in use?
Till the time the sources of energy like natural gas, electricity, pressurized water, steam, and compressed air are hooked to the equipment, there is a chance of hazard. Operators who either mend the equipment or maintain them regularly or those who are bound to work in close proximity to the machinery, should be aware of the hazards and identify the steps to safeguard them.
This is why OSHA has introduced a formal lockout/tagout program, abbreviated as LOTO. Here is more on lock out tag out procedure checklist that you should know if you are someone who operates such industrial machinery.
Investigation and preparation
The foremost step to locking out and tagging out a service or equipment is to prepare. This is the phase where the employee authorized to use the machine investigates and comprehends the different kinds of dangerous or fatal energy that have to be controlled. Moreover, the operator also has to recognize the potential hazards and find out viable solutions for regulating the energy.
Shut down the machinery
As the planning process is done, then begins the ultimate process of powering off and locking out of the machines. This is the main step where the operator has to shut down the equipment or the machine that will be either maintained or serviced. One more vital step that you can’t forget is to notify all the employees who will be impacted by the shutdown even though they don’t have any direct role to play in maintaining or servicing the equipment.
Segregation of the equipment
The next step to the process of lockout tag out is to segregate the equipment from any possible energy source. This means shutting down the machinery from any source of power like turning off the power at a breaker or shutting down the valve of the machine.
Lockout/Tagout the machinery
As the machine has been desolated from all sources of energy, the next important step is the lockout/tagout where you actually have to lock and tag out the machinery. In fact, this is the main step from which this entire checklist gets its name. In this step, the employee will attach the tagout and lockout devices to the main equipment after isolating it from all sources of energy. The main task here is to apply the lockout device on the machinery so that it stays in a ‘safe’ position. None can move this machine to an unsafe position unless it is the same person who did the lockout procedure.
Tagout is the process of attaching a tag on the machinery which includes the operator’s name who performed the lockout along with some other details about him.
Checking of any stored energy
Even though you have disconnected all sources of energy, and the machine has been locked out, that is no guarantee to the fact that there is no fatal energy still inside the machine. It doesn’t even warrant that the machine is safe for performing servicing or maintenance. During this time too, you have to watch out for perilous energy that might have been stored in the machine or the presence of any residual energy.
The last step is to ensure whether the machine is properly isolated. Though you’re sure that you’ve isolated the machine from all sources of power, locked them, and checked stored energy, you have to double-check to make sure you did it perfectly.
Equipment and operation processes keep evolving over time and the lockout/tagout program should reflect the changes. For improved CMMS ROI, you should take all steps to keep your machinery optimized.