Lock out Tag out procedures are taken to keep the individuals safe from the hazards of sudden release of energy or the unexpected release of energy during maintenance, servicing, repair or inspection works. Lock out tag out procedures is important since during maintenance or inspection a person may not be aware of what is coming up.
There have been several incidents when the persons performing maintenance, servicing, repair or inspection got hurt just because some other person unknowingly activated the energy. For example a worker had been working inside a blending machine when another worker operated the machine thinking someone byfault or intentionally had switched off the machine.
Lock out tag out facilitates the workers and the employees to ensure their safety by themselves. The key to safety is in their hands. To lock a switch would ensure that none other person could open it unless there is another key which is often not recommended by majority of employers under lock out tag out procedures.
With the growth of industrialization, the number and type of incidents also kept growing. There were someincidents where the incidents turned out fatal, yet it was difficult to blame anyone. A switched off fan or a switched off machine could be operated by anyone without even knowing that some other person may be working on the same machine at the same time.
Such incidents happen mostly when there is a time for shift changeover. Maintenance person keeps working and the other shift operator assumes that the previous shift operator might have switched off the machine for any reason. The tragic thing here is that none of the persons involved in such incidents be blamed.
OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) after a long study finally asked the concerned people to implement lock out tag out procedures in their premises from 1989. The procedures for LOTO in India may vary depending upon the employer yet the basic requirements followed remain the same. For example lock out tag out is also required when the machine guards have been removed, removal of residual energy etc.