Lockout/Tagout Safety Tips

November 3, 2020

Some measures of workplace safety are more hazardous than others. When dealing with powerful equipment, it is extremely important to be confident in handling an emergency. Mishaps can occur no matter how knowledgeable and careful you are. Therefore, you are doing your part by staying up to date on all safety and emergency procedures when a lockout/tagout may occur.

“Lockout/tagout” refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.

The primary way to prevent the release of hazardous energy during service and maintenance activities is by using energy-isolating devices such as manually operated circuit breakers, disconnect switches, and line valves and safety blocks.

An energy-isolating device is considered “capable of being locked out” if it meets one of the following requirements:

  • Is designed with a hasp or other part to which you can attach a lock such as a lockable electric disconnect switch
  • Has a locking mechanism built into it
  • Can be locked without dismantling, rebuilding, or replacing the energy-isolating device or permanently altering its energy-control capability, such as a lockable valve cover or circuit breaker blackout

In situations like this, it is normal to be caught off guard and worried about the outcome. However, as the operator, you are entrusted to handle this situation. Always be fully trained on the machinery you are working with, be completely confident in handling a lockout/tagout if it were to happen. Stay up to date and refreshed with safety procedures and wear all proper PPE when operating these machines. Lastly, always be communicating with others near you or the equipment. Alerting others and keeping everyone safe is key!

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