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Lock Out/Tag Out Procedures Protect Property and People

Forklifts, machinery, power supplies, and other equipment that is damaged or in need of repair is potentially dangerous. Even turning on equipment or machinery that is broken can put people and property at risk.

Lock Out/Tag Out (LOTO) procedures are designed to secure damaged or broken equipment and vehicles to prevent their accidental or intentional use before they can be repaired or put back online safely. LOTO supplies -- including locks, signage, and other equipment -- both secure the equipment and informs workers of the potential dangers.

LOTO Procedures

The first step is identifying broken or damaged equipment, vehicles, or system components. Regular inspections are essential to improving workplace safety. But all workers should be empowered to speak up when they see a potentially dangerous problem in the workplace. Management should always encourage an open dialogue about safety on the job.

Once a particular forklift, piece of equipment, or power supply has been identified, qualified employees should pinpoint the problem and determine the best course of action. If the equipment can't be immediately put back into service, it may need to be locked out until it can be repaired.

Lock Out/Tag Out equipment can include locks, tags, signage, lockout logs, and other materials that prevent workers from using the forklift of other equipment until it can be made safe. In many cases, the equipment may need to be powered down, unplugged, drained, or disconnected from its power source to minimize further dangers.

Posting signage, noting the lockout in a lockout log, distributing emails or texts to all employees, and other actions can help prevent people from accidentally or intentionally using the equipment after it has been locked out.

Spread the Word

Locking out equipment is not enough. It's also critical to notify all employees who may use or come into contact with the equipment that it has been locked out. Workers from other shifts or who don't ordinarily work with or near the locked out equipment may accidentally use it or turn it on, putting themselves and their co-workers in danger.

Locked out equipment should not be used until it has been completely repaired and rendered safe by a qualified technician or repair person. Using broken or damaged equipment for expediency is a bad idea and can lead to property damage, injury, or even death.

LOTO supplies such as padlocks, lockout tags, and other equipment can help prevent damaged or broken forklifts and other equipment from being used before it has been repaired and made completely safe. Keeping a supply of these materials on hand allows businesses to be prepared for lockout safety.