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Lockout Tagout is a procedure that keeps equipment inoperable while it’s being maintained, repaired, or cleaned. It’s designed to keep employees safe from hazardous conditions during servicing operations.
LOTO procedures reduce the risk of injury for service personnel by controlling hazards through the means of isolation or de-energizing, blocking, and locking out equipment. These procedures prevent hazardous energy from uncontrolled release by preventing or disabling equipment from starting up unexpectedly when maintenance is being performed on it. Lockout Tagout gives service personnel a greater degree of safety when the equipment is locked out to perform maintenance.
All electrical and mechanical equipment must be checked for hazardous energy before working on any piece of control or process equipment. This includes, but isn’t limited to, pressurized lines, rotating parts, open flames, electrical circuits and hazardous atmospheric conditions.
Lockout Tagout can be accomplished by shutting down equipment completely or by blocking the equipment from moving. In some cases, both means are used at the same time: shut down first and then block. The level of control depends on the energy and hazards involved with each piece of equipment.
When hazardous components or conditions exist, they must be identified and controlled:
Appropriate equipment and locks must be used to isolate the equipment from hazardous energy sources. Identified lockout devices can range from a key switch on a machine to an interlocking door lock. A tagout device (lock or other barrier) is used as a secondary protection against the inadvertent switching on of equipment that is locked out. The tagout device must be designed to release both the lockout and any interlocks so that no inadvertent re-energizing can damage the machine, injure personnel, or cause environmental problems.
The steps for effective LOTO are listed below:
1) Identify and discover the hazardous conditions
2) Isolate and block out the components using lockout devices such as padlocks, tags, etc.,
3) Test to ensure that it’s properly locked out
4) Perform maintenance on the equipment without creating additional hazards
5) Remove lockout devices when finished
6) Test lockout devices to ensure it is properly released
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