How To Write Effective Instructions for Lockout Tag-Out Procedures

What is the lockout procedure?
  1. Preparation.
  2. Shutdown.
  3. Isolation.
  4. Lockout/tagout.
  5. Stored energy check.
  6. Isolation verification.

Lockout Tagout | An introduction to the control of hazardous energy.

Why are lockout tag-out procedures important?

Employees must be productive while working in a safe environment. Lockout and tag-out devices and the protocols they require help lower the risk of unintentional harm or exposure to dangerous chemicals or substances by preventing accidents. Any safety program that involves large equipment, operational machinery, chemical or waste storage units, as well as other elements that could endanger a maintenance worker, must use lockout and tag-out devices. OSHA mandates the implementation of lockout and tag-out procedures in order to prevent employee harm or accidental injury.

What does lockout tag-out mean?

An organization may use lockout tagout as part of its safety protocols to safeguard workers from harm when a machine is turned on or released at work. It is typically designed for those who perform maintenance tasks, especially those who might not use the device or system on a regular basis. LOTO (lockout tag-out) procedures must be followed in order to control hazardous energy or machines, according to OSHA.

A lockout tag-out procedure necessitates the use of two devices for maximum safety. To prevent anyone from accidentally starting the machines, lockout devices are installed on them. Without a specific key obtained by the maintenance worker, these devices cannot be removed. Tag-out devices serve as warning signs for the maintenance worker and are easier to remove than lockout devices. They are also referred to as lockout tags or LOTO tags. Both act as safeguards against the unintentional use or movement of hazardous materials or energies.

How to write effective lockout tag-out instructions

The specifics of the lockout/tag-out procedure can differ from one piece of equipment to another. A straightforward set of guidelines on how, when, and under what circumstances a lockout device and tag-out device may be removed safely must be followed in order to create clear instructions. The process can follow steps like these:

1. Prepare for machinery shutdown

The initial shutdown of the machinery is step one in a lockout tag-out procedure. The purpose of the lockout and the timing of it must be communicated to all employees. To avoid accidents, anyone not involved in the lockdown and maintenance procedure should leave the work area as soon as possible after the announcement. Even if a worker is not directly affected by the shutdown process, he or she should be aware that one is taking place.

When performing a lockout on machinery that is about to undergo maintenance, a worker who has received training in the procedure must make sure that the lockout is performed on the appropriate equipment and that all necessary steps are taken. Without lockdown procedures, machinery could start up, move, or release energy unexpectedly while being maintained, which could result in injury.

2. Start machinery shutdown

A qualified person should take the necessary actions to shut down the particular piece of machinery after assuring the staff that the shutdown procedure will take place. To confirm with the authorized worker that the proper shutdown is carried out in accordance with the principle, there should be a work instruction or similar document in place. Turning a breaker or closing a valve are two common ways to start a system’s shutdown.

3. Disconnect all energy sources

After the machine has been turned off, the next step is to find and disconnect all power sources. This task should be performed by a trained employee who is able to locate all primary energy sources and is knowledgeable about how to safely disconnect them. Examples of energy sources can include any of the following:

Consider including a thorough breakdown of each step’s required actions in your lockout/tagout procedure. Also consider using visual aids, such as photos or diagrams. Make sure you outline every testing tool required for the procedure, as well as how those tools should be used. Have the step include a section where any weighted machinery components that might fall as a result of depressurization are stabilized. Stabilization can include props or heavy blocks or pins.

4. Secure locks and tags

The next step is to install all lockout devices on the switches and control surfaces after the equipment has been disconnected from all power sources. The lockout devices should be marked with lockout tags after installation. The trained employee in charge of locking the machine should be aware of how to carry out this procedure correctly. If the locks and tags are complicated, though, think about adding visual instructions akin to those mentioned in the preceding step.

5. Release stored energy and ensure lockdown is complete

A locked-down, disconnected machine should still be safe to access, but there could be leftover energy that needs to be let go of. Common ways of releasing residual energy include:

It’s crucial to make sure the system is securely locked once all residual energies have been released or contained. Start a standard startup to determine whether the system is locked, which is a reliable way to do. The machine should stay still throughout these attempts if all procedures have been carried out accurately and completely. All controls should be put back in a neutral or off position after testing is finished.


What are lockout/tagout procedures?

Procedures used to ensure that equipment is turned off and rendered inoperable until maintenance or repair work is finished are known as “lockout tagout.” They are used to protect workers from machinery or equipment that could harm or kill them if not handled properly.

What is the lockout/tagout OSHA standard?

The OSHA requirement known as The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) (29 CFR 1910.134) for general industry, which outlines steps to control various forms of hazardous energy The LOTO standard establishes the obligation of the employer to safeguard employees from hazardous energy.

What is the correct procedural order for performing a lockout tagout?

Below we outline the six common steps of LOTO procedures.
  • Step 1: Prepare for Shutdown. …
  • Step 2: Notify Affected Employees. …
  • Step 3: Shut Down Equipment. …
  • Step 4: Isolate Energy Sources. …
  • Apply LOTO Devices. …
  • Step 6: Release All Secondary Energy Sources. …
  • Step 7: Verify Isolation. …
  • Step 8: Restart Equipment.

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