What is a Lock Out Tag Out Procedure and why is it important?
The lock out tag out procedure defines the steps necessary in isolating and locking off the different supplies of energy to a piece of industrial machinery or equipment before maintenance, serving, or repairs can be performed.
A robust lock out tag out procedure helps to protect your employees from the risks generated by live machinery and electricity and ultimately preventing injury or fatality in the workplace.
Your organisation must have a lock out tag out procedure if you deal with industrial machinery or equipment to ensure you are compliant with government safety regulations and can avoid penalties, fines, fatalities, and potential plant shutdown.
For more information see:
- Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
- The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998
- The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989
Remember when carrying out the lock out tag out procedure it is crucial that you identify ALL the energy sources inside an individual piece of machinery or equipment, these include:
- Electrical energy
- Mechanical energy
- Pneumatic energy
- Hydraulic energy
- Thermal energy
- Stored energy
Don’t forget to factor in the impact that gravity may have on certain pieces of machinery or equipment when they are isolated from their energy sources and ensure you take steps to prevent them or their parts from falling.
What is a Lock Out Tag Out Procedure Workflow?
The lock out tag out procedure workflow comprises step-by-step instructions defining how to safely isolate and lock off a piece of machinery or equipment from its energy sources before carrying out maintenance, servicing, or repair works.
The lock out tag out procedure workflow follows the entire period from the time the piece of machinery or equipment is flagged for maintenance, servicing, or repairs to the moment it is safely re-energised and ready to be returned to operations.
It is crucial that the lock out tag out procedure workflow is precisely followed and systematically performed by individuals that have received authorisation.
Having a standardised lock out tag out procedure that all the relevant employees can access and follow means that the procedure will always be carried out correctly preventing the occurrence of accidents within the workplace.
A robust lock out tag out procedure will also reassure your employees that the workplace is hazard free, demonstrate your commitment to employee safety and thus boost their confidence in your organisation.
How to create your own Lock Out Tag Out Procedure Workflow
Please note this is just an example, you MUST check that this process is robust enough for your context.
Our example is broad, and you should have SPECIFIC lock out tag out procedure tailored to every DIFFERENT TYPE of machinery and equipment in your workplace.
To begin planning your lock out procedure workflow you should first clearly identify its scope and the objectives you want to achieve using this process.
For the lock out tag out procedure, your goal is to systematically isolate and lock off machinery/equipment from its energy sources to ensure that maintenance, servicing, or repair works can be safely carried out and prevent the occurrence of injury or death.
Once you have established your scope and objectives, you can now determine both the starting and endpoints of your workflow.
In our free example which you can download below, we begin our workflow with the identification of the energy types the piece of machinery or equipment is being supplied with and ends with the safe restoration of energy to the machinery or equipment.
Now you can determine the remaining steps of your lock out workflow that must be completed so that the process may move through from start to finish.
Consider all the different steps the lock out tag out procedure must go through to ensure that the piece of machinery or equipment has been correctly isolated and lock off from its energy sources.
Once all your steps have been established you can decide who will have responsibility in your lock out tag out procedure workflow.
Think about which stakeholders will be involved, their duties and the information they require to complete the task safely and effectively.
In our example, we have used the single, generic role ‘Maintenance’, however, more individuals may be involved in your organisations lock out procedure.
For example, perhaps you require a supervisor to check the machinery or equipment has been correctly locked off before maintenance, servicing, or repairs can begin.
Once a clear plan for your lock out tag out procedure has been established, you can now create your workflow template.
You could create a simple image of your template using traditional methods.
However, we recommend using a software like Jomo247 with a digital workflow builder that will help you automate your lock out tag out procedure.