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Lockout / Tag-out Procedures

Lockout / tag-out (LOTO) procedures guarantee that equipment is not unexpectedly re-energized while work is being performed. OSHA regulations and NFPA 70E both require LOTO for any work which involves hazardous energy or equipment. Failure to comply with lockout/tag-out regulations is a leading source of OSHA citations.

Employers should develop a comprehensive lockout/tag-out program, train employees in proper procedure, and establish methods of insuring compliance. The program should cover the following information:

  • Identifying energy sources
  • Identifying employees affected by each energy source
  • Procedures for de-energizing equipment and identifying the employee responsible for de-energizing
  • Procedures for releasing stored energy
  • Verification and voltage-testing of de-energized equipment
  • Procedures for shift changes and coordination of tasks
  • Tracking all involved employees
  • Applying and removing lockout/tag-out devices. Separate procedures should be developed for each piece of equipment.
  • Returning equipment to service

Lockout / tagout devices

A lockout/tag-out device is a padlock or heavy-duty tag that can be attached to energy control points to prevent their operation. Lockout/tag-out devices should be standardized throughout a facility, and should not resemble locks or tags used for other purposes. Each device should identify the person who applied it, and should remain under the exclusive control of that person.

The person or persons who will be operating on de-energized equipment should place locks (or tags, when a lock cannot be applied) on each energy control point on the equipment. The devices should only be removed when the equipment is returned to service, or when a shift change occurs. In the event of a shift change, the incoming shift should apply its own devices before the leaving shift removes the devices it applied.

More information about LOTO devices and procedures can be found on our arc flash resources page.

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