Machine maintenance and repair always starts with effectively and safely implementing your facility’s lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures.
Unfortunately for many machines, hazardous energy control isolation devices are not installed in a convenient or accessible location to facilitate the safe and effective implementation of LOTO procedures. As a result, shortcuts or gaps become commonplace, increasing the potential for severe, if not fatal, injuries.
This blog will review considerations and products to support the effective and safe implementation of LOTO procedures. These simple machine safety improvements may increase productivity and reduce turnaround times.
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Keep reading or watch our YouTube video with ROSS Controls for a comprehensive review of LOTO.
What is Lockout/Tagout?
Lockout/tagout, or LOTO, are procedures used to ensure equipment is completely inoperable while maintenance and repair are completed. LOTO procedures are used to keep maintenance personnel safe from the unexpected start-up or release of hazardous energy.
Why is Lockout/Tagout Important?
In 2019, OSHA estimated up to 10% of all industrial safety incidents are related to improper LOTO implementation. The solution? OSHA estimates implementing safe and compliant LOTO procedures can prevent 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries annually.
During machinery maintenance and repair, the unexpected startup and/or the release of hazardous energy can result in server, if not fatal, injuries. Therefore, when it’s time for machinery maintenance and repair, the first step is implementing the machine’s hazardous energy control procedures and your facility’s LOTO procedures.
For LOTO procedures to be effective and safe, Serious Injury Prevention (SIP) efforts must carefully evaluate the location and the adequacy of those devices provided for employees to identify, access, isolate, secure, and verify the status of each hazardous energy source.
Lockout/Tagout Standards & Training
These standards explain the specific actions and procedures necessary for controlling hazardous energy during the maintenance and repair of machines & equipment.
OSHA standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy (29 CFR 1910.147)
ANSI/ASSE Z2244.1-2003 (R2008) “Control of Hazardous Energy Lockout/Tagout Alternative Methods”
ANSI/PMMI B155.1-2006 “Safety Requirements for Packaging Machinery and Packaging-Related Converting Machinery”
A primary requirement of the above safety standards is that employers train impacted employees to ensure they fully understand and observe all applicable provisions of your facility’s hazardous energy control procedures. In addition, employees must be trained in the purpose and function of the hazardous energy control program and have the knowledge and skills required for the effective and safe application, usage, verification, and removal of LOTO control devices.
MPSA can train your staff to use and maintain your safety system.
Learn how MPSA customizes training solutions for your facilities here.
Lockout/Tagout Upgrade Considerations
Here are some considerations to review when conducting your hazard assessment process and developing hazardous energy control procedures for the equipment and machinery at your facility.
Access - Are isolation devices(s) for each hazardous energy source properly labeled and located in a convenient, accessible, and safe location? Ideally, can the isolation devices for multiple hazardous energy sources be positioned in a single place?
Isolation - Is there an approved or listed isolation device, e.g., disconnect switch, isolation/dump valve, etc., of proper size and capacity to isolate each hazardous energy source? For example, for hydraulic & pneumatic services, does the isolation device offer an exhaust or bleed-down port with a capacity equal to or greater than the supply port?
Security - Is the isolation device designed to only be lockable in the off/open position and able to accept standard LOTO control devices such as personal padlocks, tags, and other locking hardware?
Verification - Does the energy isolation device provide an effective and visible means to help verify a Zero Energy State (ZES) after applying the LOTO hardware?
These upgrades will help ensure your employees have the best opportunities to reduce the risk of severe injury and improve work efficiency while achieving compliance with hazardous energy control requirements and your facility’s LOTO procedures.
Lockout/Tagout Products, in Review
Below are industry approved electrical, hydraulic, and pneumatic isolation devices for effective and safe LOTO procedures.
Power Plugs & Receptacles
Meltric DS and DSN Series Switch-Rated plugs and receptacles combine the safety of a switch with the convenience of a plug and receptacle in one reliable, cost-effective device. Meltric’s Decontactor™ technology, with spring-loaded silver-nickel butt contacts, push-button disconnection, enclosed arc chambers, and dead-front construction with a safety shutter. Providing users with safety, code compliance, and operating cost benefits.
Permanent Electrical Safety Devices (PESDS)
Grace PESDs make LOTO procedures safer and more productive.
Monitored Block & Vent Assembly
Airline’s monitored block and vent assembly guarantees machine-operators their hydraulic machine is in a zero-energy state and safe for maintenance. The assembly works by blocking the supply of hydraulic fluid to downstream machinery and venting any trapped pressure back to the tank, leaving machinery in a zero-energy state, allowing for safe access.
Learn more in Airline Hydraulics blog post, Monitored Valves for Functional Hydraulic Safety | Verify Zero-Energy State
Electric & Manual Air Dump Valves
L-O-X valves have been manufactured for more than 30 years. They are the most specified valve of their kind throughout the world and provide an immediate shutoff of system air supply. ROSS also offers a combination unit of the L-O-X valve and the EEZ-ON valve. The L-O-X/EEZ-ON valves offer the features of the individual valve but in one body.
Machine maintenance and repair always starts with LOTO. Unfortunately, shortcuts or gaps become commonplace without the correct safe, local, and complaint isolation devices, increasing the potential for severe, if not fatal, injuries.
Take time to review these products for ways to upgrade your LOTO program. These simple machine safety improvements may increase productivity and reduce turnaround times.
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact MPSA machine safety experts!
Updated Safety Standards & Regulations