Machinery or equipment that starts up unexpectedly or releases stored energy while someone is performing maintenance or repairs can cause serious injury. Lockout/tagout procedures prevent these types of accidents from happening. Although only authorized employees are permitted to perform lockout procedures and to remove locks and tags, all employees need to understand lockout and tagout procedures.
Lockout means putting a lock on a machine or piece of equipment to make sure it stays off. Electrical, mechanical, chemical, thermal, hydraulic, pneumatic, raised-weight, pressurized and coiled-spring systems must be neutralized for safety during maintenance and repairs.
A lockout device is a lock, block or chain that keeps a switch, valve or lever in the “off’ position. Lockout locks must meet special requirements and must be identified by the name of the worker who installs and removes them. Only use locks provided by your employer for lockout purposes. Never use these locks for toolboxes, storage sheds or other uses.
When equipment can’t be locked out, it must be tagged out with a special tag that warns workers to not start up the equipment. A tag is not a physical restraint. Tags must clearly state: “Do not operate or remove this tag.” Tags must be placed on each handle, push button, lever or circuit breaker used to energize the equipment.
Tags must meet special requirements and show the identity of the authorized employee. Both locks and tags must be strong enough to prevent unauthorized removal and to withstand various environmental conditions.
After the maintenance or repair work is completed, only the same authorized employee who installed the lock may remove and restart the equipment. Before restarting the equipment: