Lockout-tagout (LOTO) or lock and tag is a safety procedure which is used in industry and research settings to ensure that dangerous machines are properly shut off and not started up again prior to the completion of maintenance or servicing work. It requires that hazardous power sources be “isolated and rendered inoperative” before any repair procedure is started.
Modern machinery can contain many hazards to workers, examples of the most common risks are:
- Hydraulic pressure
- Compressed air
- Many types of fluids
For example a typical industrial machine may contain things like hot fluids, moving presses, blades, propellers, electrical heaters, conveyor belts with pinch points, moving chains, ultraviolet light, etc.
Disconnecting or making safe the equipment involves the removal of all energy sources and is known as isolation. The steps necessary to isolate equipment are often documented in an isolation procedure or a lockout tagout procedure. The isolation procedure generally includes the following tasks:
- Identify the energy source(s)
- Isolate the energy source(s)
- Lock and Tag the energy source(s)
- Prove that the equipment isolation is effective