Lockout tagout (LOTO) is a critical safety procedure that is designed to prevent accidental start-up of machinery or equipment during maintenance, servicing, or repair work. However, despite its importance, LOTO procedures are often not given the attention they deserve, which can result in serious workplace accidents. In this blog post, we will discuss the top 5 LOTO mistakes and provide tips on how to avoid them.
- Failing to Properly Identify All Energy Sources
One of the most common LOTO mistakes is failing to identify all energy sources associated with a particular piece of machinery or equipment. This can include electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, and mechanical energy sources. To avoid this mistake, a thorough energy control procedure should be implemented, which includes identifying all energy sources and their respective control points.
2. Not Following the Correct Sequence of Lockout Steps
Another common mistake is not following the correct sequence of lockout steps. This can occur when workers are not properly trained or do not have a clear understanding of the LOTO procedure. To avoid this mistake, a clear and comprehensive LOTO procedure should be established and communicated to all workers. Workers should be trained on the proper sequence of lockout steps and should follow them consistently.
3. Failing to Remove All Stored Energy
Stored energy can pose a significant hazard during LOTO procedures. Failure to remove all stored energy from equipment can result in serious accidents. To avoid this mistake, all equipment should be de-energized, and any stored energy, such as hydraulic or pneumatic pressure, should be released or dissipated. This should be done in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and in a safe manner.
4. Not Properly Securing Lockout Devices
Lockout devices should be properly secured to prevent them from being accidentally removed or tampered with. This can occur when devices are not properly installed, or when workers are not properly trained on their use. To avoid this mistake, workers should be trained on how to properly install and secure lockout devices. In addition, devices should be checked periodically to ensure they are still in place and secure.
5. Failure to Conduct Regular LOTO Audits
Regular audits are essential to ensure that LOTO procedures are being followed correctly and that all equipment is properly secured. Failure to conduct regular audits can result in complacency and can lead to serious accidents. To avoid this mistake, a regular audit schedule should be established, and audits should be conducted by trained personnel.
In conclusion, LOTO procedures are essential for ensuring worker safety during maintenance, servicing, or repair work. However, to be effective, LOTO procedures must be followed correctly. The top 5 LOTO mistakes include failing to properly identify all energy sources, not following the correct sequence of lockout steps, failing to remove all stored energy, not properly securing lockout devices, and failure to conduct regular audits. By following these tips and implementing a comprehensive LOTO procedure, you can help to ensure worker safety and prevent accidents in the workplace.