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Three Simple Steps to Establish a Lockout/Tagout Programme

Lockout/Tagout is a planned safety procedure that disables the energy supply of industrial machinery and equipment whilst servicing, maintenance work or repairs are in progress. The aim of this system is to effectively protect workers from the dangers created by live machinery or electricity, therefore lowering the overall level of risk when working with this equipment.

Three simple steps can be followed in order to establish a Lockout/Tagout programme in an industrial workplace:

1. Develop a written programme

Machinery which may need to undergo maintenance or repair should be evaluated, so that the type of lockout procedure required can be determined (a professional with experience in this area will be able to assist with this). An annual review of procedures in place should also be implemented, to confirm that preexisting procedures are up to date, and information from this should be contained within the written programme.

All procedures for the control of hazardous energy, including planning for preparation for shutdown, equipment isolation, lockout device application, release of stored energy and verification of energy isolation of equipment should be identified and written out.

This programme should inform employees where and in which circumstances specific lockout devices should be used, and of any situations in which tagout devices alone are suitable. When new equipment is purchased, or there are changes to the operation of existing machinery, the written programme should be updated to reflect these changes.

2. Train employees

Both employees authorised to implement the Lockout/Tagout procedure and equipment maintenance/repairs and those likely to be affected by such events must be trained in the specific energy control and Lockout/Tagout procedures established by the company.

The degree of training required obviously varies with the position of the employee- those actively involved in maintenance and repairs will require specific, advanced training which may be provided by individual departments of large companies. Employees exposed to a lower level of risk from dangerous equipment still need to be made aware of the procedures in place, but employers may wish to provide training on a company-wide basis, in larger-group general training sessions.

Verification of this training is required, and it is the responsibility of the individual to attend training sessions and comply with regulations. For more information on this, see Lockout/Tagout Training.

Lockout Safety Padlocks

3.Implement the programme

High quality, standardized lockout devices, along with a safety padlock to secure them, should be provided to all maintenance workers who may need to implement the Lockout/Tagout procedure. These devices must be used solely for this purpose, and must be applied and removed only by the worker to whom they are assigned. Company regulations must be followed at all times when implementing the Lockout Tagout procedure.

For individually-tailored advice on establishing a Lockout/Tagout training programme, or tips on choosing from a wide range of Lockout/Tagout devices and other safety products, call us on 01642 244017 or email us

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