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'Lock out tag out' procedure can save maintenance and cleaning workers' lives

* Lock-out-tag-out.jpgHazardous energy should be safely isolated prior to any maintenance or cleaning work taking place on machinery, electrical or industry devices. To ensure that accidental re-energisation does not occur - which in turn could lead to injury or fatalities - a 'lock out tag out' procedure should be in place.

'Lock out tag out' is a safety procedure which, when followed correctly, ensures that machinery is shut off completely, any stored energy is safely isolated, and accidental start-up cannot occur.

As part of the procedure, isolated power sources are locked in the first instance and then tagged by the individual who placed the lock. The tag acts as an identifier with details of the person who placed the lock, this is then the only person who can remove this device.

Legislation requires that a well-defined step-by-step procedure is in place in order to control hazardous energy. 'lock out tag out' has eight definable steps to ensure the safety of workers.

1. Preparation: Before the shutdown of equipment begins, any workers in the area should be made aware that a 'lock out tag out' procedure will be taking place. The energy and hazards associated with the machine should also be considered at this point.

2. Shutdown: Use the appropriate shutdown procedure for the equipment to turn the machine off completely.

3. Energy isolation: At this point all energy sources and secondary power sources should be isolated. Isolation devices should be applied to the equipment to block it from the energy source.

4. Apply lock out devices: The energy isolation devices should now be locked and tagged. Ensure to use the correct device for the machinery. If many padlocks and keys are required, use key cabinets to safely store and control them. Tags should then be filled out and applied securely to the tag out device.

5. Energy control: Any stored energy in the equipment should be safely isolated. Do this by inspecting for any remaining movements, block potential moving parts or anything which could fall. Piping systems should be drained and any trapped pressure relieved.

6. Equipment isolation: Ensure areas are clear and that devices have been correctly locked so re-energisation cannot occur. At this point you should attempt to start the equipment to try out the isolation procedure. Make sure all controls are switched off after testing.

7. Complete the work: Make sure maintenance, cleaning or repair work is carried out safely and in line with the lock out procedure.

8. Restart: Once the work is complete, the lock out devices can be removed and the machinery safely restarted. The locks must only be removed by the person that applied and tagged them.

Ensuring that your business is compliant with the safe isolation of equipment and hazardous energy will prevent accidents and injury occurring. Workers should be trained in the 'Lock Out Tag Out' procedure in order safely complete maintenance or cleaning of equipment.


28th February 2019

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