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LOTO Explained: A Comprehensive Guide to Lockout Tagout

Lockout Tagout (LOTO) is a safety procedure that isolates equipment or machinery from all energy sources before maintenance or servicing takes place. LOTO procedures have been effectively planned to prevent unexpected energy release during maintenance activities, which could lead to serious injuries or fatalities. 

The Importance of LOTO

In Australia, over 3500 workers were seriously injured in 2018 as a result of machinery or equipment-related accidents. Accidents resulting from the release of stored energy can be prevented by implementing LOTO procedures, which ensure that equipment is de-energised and locked out before maintenance or repair. Lockout and tagging are essential components of the LOTO procedure, and the tags and locks applied help identify the machines and equipment that should not be turned on until the repair is complete.

Statistics Showing the Significance of LOTO

Equipment-related accidents account for 15% of workplace fatalities in Australia, making them one of the leading causes of workplace deaths. However, these deaths can be prevented by ensuring that LOTO procedures are implemented and followed effectively. 

The results from recent study on Key Work Health and Safety Statistics revealed that by using LOTO procedures it reduced fatality rate by 50% from the peak in 2007. The study also revealed that effectively using LOTO procedures reduced injury severity, resulting in fewer days off work, less need for medical treatment, and reduced compensation costs.

What is Lockout Tagout?

Lockout Tagout (LOTO) is a comprehensive planned safety process that is commonly used across industries to protect workers from the sudden release of energy from equipment that undergo maintenance or repair. The purpose of LOTO procedures is to ensure that all energy sources are isolated and equipment is de-energised before any servicing, cleaning, or repair is performed. This procedure involves placing a lock and a tag on the energy-isolating devices to prevent the accidental activation of the machine or equipment.

LOTO procedures are essential in any workplace where equipment or machinery could cause injury or death if not maintained or serviced correctly. The LOTO procedure is implemented to prevent workers from inadvertently turning on a machine while maintenance or servicing is being performed, which could lead to a fatal accident.

Different types of energy sources that need to be isolated during LOTO procedures include electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, thermal, and chemical. Electrical energy is one of the most common energy sources, and it is essential to ensure that all sources of electrical power are isolated before any maintenance or servicing is performed on the equipment. Mechanical energy is another significant energy source that needs to be isolated to prevent the unexpected movement of machine parts. Hydraulic and pneumatic energy sources also need to be isolated to prevent the sudden release of pressurised fluids that could cause injury or death. Thermal and chemical energy sources are also isolated to prevent explosions, fires, and other hazardous events.

Lockout Tagout Procedures

LOTO procedures must be followed carefully to ensure the safety of all employees in the workplace. Here is a step-by-step guide to LOTO procedures:

Preparation: Before any LOTO procedure is initiated, it is essential to identify all energy sources that need to be isolated, including electrical, hydraulic, mechanical, and thermal energy. Employees should also have the necessary equipment and tools, including padlocks, tags, and blocking devices.

Shutdown: The next step is to shut down the equipment and machinery that will undergo the LOTO process. This involves following the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper shutdown and isolation of all energy sources.

Lockout: Once the equipment is shut down, the employees should place their padlocks on the energy-isolating devices to prevent an accidental restart.

Tagout: The employees should also place a tag on the equipment to indicate that it is undergoing the LOTO process. The tag should indicate the employee’s name and contact information.

Verification: After the LOTO process is complete, the employees should verify that all energy sources are isolated and that the equipment is safe to work on.

It is the employer’s responsibility to provide proper training and communication to the employees regarding LOTO procedures. Regular inspections and audits must also be conducted to ensure that LOTO procedures are being followed correctly, and potential hazards are identified and prevented.

Types of LOTO Procedures

There are three types of lockout tagout procedures: individual, group, and shift. Each type is used in different situations depending on the size of the work area, the complexity of the machinery, and the number of employees involved.

Individual lockout tagout procedures are used when only one employee is working on a particular machine or piece of equipment. In this case, the employee is responsible for isolating and locking out the energy sources before beginning work.

Group lockout tagout procedures are used when a group of employees are working on a machine or equipment. The employees work together to isolate and lock out the energy sources before starting work. This type of LOTO procedure is suitable for complex machinery that requires the input of multiple employees.

Shift lockout tagout procedures are used when multiple employees work on a machine or equipment in different shifts. The first shift employee who operates the machinery performs the lockout tagout procedure and ensures that the energy sources are properly locked out. The last shift employee who uses the machinery removes the locks and restores the energy sources to their normal state.

Implementation of LOTO Procedures

To implement LOTO procedures effectively, employers must provide the necessary equipment and materials to ensure compliance with the LOTO program. These include lockout devices, tags, and personal protective equipment. 

Employers must also develop a LOTO program that outlines the procedures for isolating equipment and training employees. 

Regular inspections and audits of LOTO procedures are crucial to ensure that they are being implemented correctly and that all equipment is de-energised before maintenance or repair. 

LOTO programs should be updated regularly to reflect any changes in equipment, machinery, or energy sources.

LOTO and the Law

In Australia, employers have a legal obligation to implement LOTO procedures to protect their employees from hazards associated with equipment and machinery maintenance or repair. The relevant laws and regulations related to LOTO procedures in Australia include the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017.

The OHS Act requires employers to provide a safe working environment and to take all reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health and safety of their employees. The OHS Regulations 2017 provide specific requirements for LOTO procedures, including the use of lockout devices and tags, employee training, and regular inspections.

Non-compliance with LOTO regulations can result in penalties, fines, and legal action. 

In addition to the financial penalties, non-compliance with LOTO regulations can also result in serious injuries, fatalities, and damage to equipment and machinery. It is essential for employers to comply with LOTO regulations to protect their employees and ensure a safe working environment.

We encourage employers and employees to make lockout tagout procedures a priority in their workplace safety programs. By doing so, they can create a safer work environment and prevent accidents that can result in injury or death. 

At Tuffa Products, we understand the importance of implementing an effective Lockout Tagout program in the workplace to ensure the safety of employees and prevent accidents. That’s why we offer a wide range of high-quality Lockout Tagout products designed to meet the needs of different industries and applications. Our range includes lockout devices for various energy sources, lockout hasps, lockout padlocks, and key cabinets, all made from durable materials and built to withstand harsh industrial environments. 

We also offer a variety of exclusive Lockout Kits including the lockout tagout kits that come equipped with everything you need for an effective LOTO procedure, including our Electrical Lockout Kit. With our products, you can rest assured that your LOTO program is reliable, efficient, and compliant with Australian regulations. 

Visit our website to explore our LOTO range and find the products that best suit your needs.

About TUFFA™ Products

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TUFFA™ Products are specialists in printing Safety Tags and Safety Products. TUFFA™ Products works with a variety of freight providers throughout Australia to get goods delivered to you fast. If you have a strict time frame, we recommend calling our office on 02 6895 3347 to discuss express delivery options.

TUFFA™ Products Pty Ltd
Address: 2 Galari Circuit, Condobolin NSW 2877, Australia
Phone: +61 2 6895 3347  |  Fax: +61 2 6895 4233  |  Email: sales@tuffaproducts.com.au


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