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Top Ten Tips for Lockout Tagout

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.

Once a Lockout/Tagout programme is established, following the tips below will aid its successful running:


Implement a training programme, to instruct all employees affected by the Lockout/Tagout procedure in the specific energy control and lockout/tagout procedures established by the company. Attendance at this training must be verified.


Use Lockout/Tagout devices that clearly identify the employee who applied them. With safety padlocks, this can be achieved by labelling with the individual’s name and/or photo, laser engraving or colour coding.


Ensure that the only employee able to remove a Lockout/Tagout device from a piece of equipment is the one who applied it. Supplying employees with safety padlocks keyed different is the simplest way to achieve this. Supervisors may, if necessary, be provided with a master key to operate the locks of each employee in their supervision group. Extra precautionary steps must be taken if this policy is adapted, to prevent inadvertent reenergisation and endangering employees.


Allow any capacitors time to discharge after turning off equipment, before carrying out work. Alternatively, have procedures in place for manual discharging. If multiple isolation points exist for a piece of equipment, make sure that a lockout device is applied to each one.


Ensure that the Lockout/Tagout devices are suitable for the equipment in question. They must be able to withstand the harsh conditions of industrial environments; i.e. be durable and resistant to extremes of temperature and pressure.


If machinery is unsuitable for the application of a lockout device for any reason, establish a tagout procedure to notify workers of danger. Tagout devices alone are unsuitable for many types of machinery, and should not be used to replace lockout devices unless necessary. If used, they should provide equivalent protection to that provided by lockout devices.


Develop a written programme, containing all details of Lockout/Tagout procedures in place and company regulations to be followed during these procedures. Ensure that this is regularly updated, and that a copy is made easily accessible to all employees.


When new equipment is purchased, or the mode of operation of existing machinery changes significantly, ensure that there is a suitable Lockout/Tagout procedure put in place in case of it needing to undergo maintenance. If no Lockout/Tagout device is suitable, consult a qualified professional for advice on specialised safety procedures.


Implement an annual review of Lockout/Tagout procedures, ensuring that any new machinery is able to be lockout out, that employee training is up to date, and that the Lockout/Tagout procedure in use complies with any new health and safety legislation introduced.


Consult local legal requirements for workplace safety, relating to the provision of Lockout/Tagout equipment and training. For a non-exhaustive list of relevant legislation, see http://www.lockout-tagout.co.uk/about.php. Not only does compliance with this legislation reduce the risk of accidents and serious injury for your employees, it also reduces the risk of employers having to face the increasingly vast fines imposed after such injuries, when they are due to failure on their part to comply with legal requirements.

Lockout Kits Including Custom Lockout Training Kits Available

Wide Selection Of Lockout Kits Available

For expert advice on operating Lockout/Tagout programmes, tailored to the needs of your company, or tips on choosing from a wide range of Lockout/Tagout devices and other safety products, call us on 01642 244017 or email us.

N.B. These guidelines are based on recommendations by OSHA (US Occupational Safety and Health Administration). Whilst following them will assist in the successful running of Lockout/Tagout procedures, they are by no means intended to constitute a comprehensive list of procedures to satisfy legal requirements and protect workers. Consult local legislation for more details on these requirements if unsure.

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