Workplace Safety: 5 Critical Things to Know Before Addressing Lockout Tagout

Jennifer Giannosa ·

Have you been put in charge of developing a program to address lockout tagout (LOTO) safety concerns?

The process can seem overwhelming and difficult to manage, yet lockout tagout programs are a basic safety requirement for most manufacturing plants. If successfully implemented, such programs can help prevent workplace accidents, promote a safe working environment, standardize safe working procedures and reduce company liability.

There are many components to a comprehensive LOTO program including standardized procedures, training and inspection. Below are 5 important things to consider before developing, updating or seeking assistance in the development of a lockout tagout safety program.

1) Review OSHA requirements

OSHA legal requirements and regulations on lockout tagout are very detailed and lengthy. For you, this means lots of regulations to review, understand and follow. Fortunately, there are many resources online including the OSHA website itself. In its most basic form, OSHA requires three elements within a LOTO program including training, written procedures and inspections.

2) Evaluate safety data

Does your company collect and track information on safety data? How many accidents have you had this year? Which machines saw the most accidents, and exactly what part of the machine? This information will help you tailor your program to your unique needs, solving major issues and providing direct results.

3) Keep it simple

It is your job to understand and translate complicated LOTO regulations into simple to understand and follow procedures for your employees. Equipment with two or more energy sources must have written LOTO procedures. When an emergency arises, complicated procedures and hard-to-read diagrams take up precious time. Keep things simple to save time which is critical in the moment on the manufacturing floor.

4) Think long-term

Basic OSHA requirements dictate LOTO programs must be periodically inspected, at least annually. This involves evaluating each procedure for accuracy and making any needed corrections. Ensuring this happens involves careful coordination and accountability, which is no small undertaking. Think long-term about how and who will maintain the safety program for your employees.

5) Consider hiring an expert

Depending on your needs and the scope of your safety program, you may want to consider hiring an expert. There are many companies with extensive experience who offer safety program consulting and implementation services. These experts can perform a needs assessment and offer ideas for safety concerns your team may not have even considered.

If you have any questions about workplace safety programs or lockout tagout, please contact Jennifer Giannosa at JGiannosa@EDSISolutions.com.