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What is 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.

The Lockout/Tagout procedure consists of several steps, and requires specialised, high quality equipment that is capable of withstanding the conditions of the industrial environment in which it is used. Such procedures are required by international health and safety regulations whenever an employee is required to place any part of their body within a machine’s danger zone or inside the machine itself.

The Lockout component of the procedure consists of a lockout device and securing a padlock to an isolation point, to ensure that once it is switched off it cannot be reenergised by anybody except the employee who applied the lockout device. This helps safeguard workers from accidental reenergisation of machinery, which can have fatal consequences. If several employees are working on the same piece of equipment, each should apply their own padlock to a lockout device or safety hasp - this means that each affected employee must remove their padlock before the machinery can be switched back on. Padlocks can be made easily identifiable by colour, labelling or engraving, and no two employees should have locks opened by the same key.

Lockout devices can be applied to all types of isolation points, mechanical or electrical. The term "Tagout" refers to the high-visibility tags that are then applied to notify other workers of the procedures taking place.

Example Lockout Tag

Cost Effective Custom Lockout Tags Available

Isolation Tag

Who is involved?

All workers operating in an area in which a Lockout/Tagout procedure may be implemented must be made aware of the programme. These include:

  • Authorised employees/employer - these are named in an organisation’s written Lockout/Tagout procedures, and are the only people permitted to apply and remove lockout devices and tags to machinery.
  • affected employees - these may work in an area in which the Lockout/Tagout procedure is to be implemented, or may be involved in carrying out the maintenance or repair work on the machinery. Training must be provided to ensure that these employees understand and comply with the Lockout/Tagout programme. All employees authorised to place any part of their body within the machinery in question must receive the same training with regards to Lockout/Tagout as a full time mechanic who carries out the equipment repairs.
  • Other employees - these workers may occasionally work in an area in which a Lockout/Tagout procedure is implemented, although they are not themselves directly affected. Instruction must also be provided to these employees to ensure that they understand the procedure, and comply with regulations.

For further information on Lockout Tagout procedures, or for expert advice 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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