Lockout/Tagout Procedure: LOTO Procedure

Complete lockout/tagout procedure and some really helpful tips

Photo © HelloMike

Lockout/Tagout Procedure: LOTO Procedure

A lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedure is a safety mechanism used to prevent unauthorized access to power lines that are undergoing maintenance or some other procedure is being performed. A lockout/tagout procedure is a secured process in which all individuals working on a same circuit have their own personal combination lock which they set on a disconnect device before working on the system.

The LOTO procedure also requires that every single worker participating on the process fill out and sign a tag that will be hanged from their lock describing the duration and the type of work they intend to perform. When multiple areas are being worked simultaneously, the worker must use as many of locks as necessary to secure power from the system.

Lockout/Tagout Step by Step

The procedure for the application of the lockout/tagout should be as follows:

Before an authorized worker shuts down the line or circuit, he or she must be completely informed about the type and magnitude of the work to be performed. The worker must also be aware of the hazards of the energy to be shut down and the method to control the power.

  1. Prepare to Shutdown:
  2. Machine Shutdown
  3. The machine or equipment connected to the serviced line or circuit must be turned down too to avoid any additional hazard to workers as a result of equipment de-energization. Electrical disconnect switches should never be pulled while under load, because of the possibility of arcing or even explosion.
  1. Equipment Isolation
  2. All isolating devices needed to control the machine shall be physically located and operated in a way that the equipment shall be isolated from the energy source.
  3. Lockout/Tagout
  4. Lock out and tag the device with an individual lock. When more than one worker is working on that same circuit or equipment, each one should lockout the equipment by placing a personal lock and tag on the group lockout device. Every lock and tag should show the name of the person who locked the equipment. Both locks and tags are to be standardized by color, shape, or size.
  1. Stored Energy
  2. Once that the equipment has been locked and secured, all stored energy shall be disconnected and/or restrained and rendered safe. The worker must verify that there is no possibility of re-accumulation of stored energy.
  3. Verification of Isolation
  4. Verify that the equipment is not energized and that has been disconnected from power before starting the work. Simply operate the push button or other normal controls to verify that all energy sources have been disconnected and the equipment will not operate.
  5. Release From Lockout/Tagout

Before locks and tags are removed, inspect the working area to ensure that all items have been removed from the equipment and that all covers and protection devices are back in place. Workers shall maintain a significant distance from the serviced equipment in case any problem arises when the power comes back on.


Completing the Lockout/Tagout Procedure:

Once the project has been completed or the task has been finalized every last lock is removed from the disconnect switch meaning that the last worker givers authorization to re-energize the line. There are special circumstances where authorization comes and there are still locks in place, so in that case, the tag will show the person who is working on the line and the type of tasks he or she has been assigned to.

Lockout/Tagout Important Tips

When performing a lockout/tagout procedure be sure to follow these helpful tips:

  • Pulling fuses is not a substitute for locking out.
  • Do not assume that equipment that operates intermittently, such as a pump, blower, fan or compressor has been disconnected
  • Locks and tags must be durable enough to withstand the environment in which they are to be used
  • Locks must be substantial enough to prevent removal without the use of excessive force
  • Ensure that procedures on lockout/tagout are developed that are specific to each machine
  • ƒ Make sure that only one key exists for each of your assigned locks and that only you hold that key