The Purpose of Lockout/Tagout and LOTO Safety

When machines or equipment are being prepared for service or maintenance, they often contain some form of hazardous energy” that can cause harm to people in the area. When we talk about hazardous energy, we mean any type of energy that can be released and might harm a person. This could include energy of the following types:

  • Chemical
  • Electrical
  • Hydraulic
  • Mechanical
  • Pneumatic
  • Thermal
  • Other sources of energy
  • Without the use of proper LOTO safety procedures, the serviced equipment can unexpectedly start up or otherwise release these forms of energy. This can lead to injuries and even death to the people working on the machine and even to others working in the area or living in the community. Energy sources including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other sources in machines and equipment can be hazardous to workers. During the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment, the unexpected startup or release of stored energy can result in serious injury or death to workers.  

    A lockout/tagout procedure should include the following six steps:

    1. Preparation
    2. Shutdown
    3. Isolation
    4. Lockout/tagout
    5. Stored energy check
    6. Isolation verification

    7. Let’s look at each of these steps of LOTO safety more closely in the sections below.

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