Lock out Tag out system, sometimes known as LOTO, is taken as a preventive measure for control of hazardous energy. Uncontrolled hazardous energy may lead to shocks, burns and even fatalities. Lock out Tag out (LOTO) is required during, servicing, breakdown, maintenance and during inspections.
The basic principle of lock out tag out is to prevent the release of unwanted energy when a worker is performing any of the above mentioned jobs. This can be done by locking and tagging out the places from where the energy flow is controlled for e.g. control valves and switches. If the valve is closedthere are least chances of escape of unwanted energy.
Lock out Tag out is often misunderstood for protection against electrical energy only however this can be done to prevent losses from all sorts of energies including mechanical energy, electrical energy, thermal energy, chemical energy etc. Implementation of Lock out Tag out can be done by: -
Defining Procedures for Lock out Tag out (LOTO)
The first step towards LOTO implementation is that the procedures are defined how lock out tag out is performed or is to be performed. Every complexity of the procedure need to be identified for example who will have the authority to cut the lock if the maintenance person took away the keys with him.
LOTO Training to Concerned People
It is generally the safety department
LOTO Training to All
The finance people, fire department people and other service department people may also have to visit the work place. It is better is all the people are aware of the lock out tag out procedures to be followed in the premises.
Update the existing valves, switches and other energy control devices to LOTO compatible devices. Unless they fit to the modern LOTO devices it would be difficult to implement lock out tag out in the premises.
Procure LOTO Devices
Other than lock, tag and key there are other devices used to lock out particular valves and switches. For example different devices may be required for locking a ball valve, gate valve and a butterfly valve. Procure LOTO devices as per the requirement.
Revise and update LOTO procedures
When field for LOTO is set do not forget to update learning in the defined procedures. The problems faced while implementing LOTO procedures set the benchmark for improved safety procedures.