Using Lockout/Tagout Technology to Manage Your Program

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With the iPad, it is now possible to track real time lockouts, have procedures at the ready, audit each procedure, and create tasks if necessary; it’s even possible to audit authorized employees."

How an iPad Can Make Tracking Easier

It is often considered a tedious task, maintaining a lockout/tagout program. OSHA requires components such as lockout procedures for all necessary equipment, employee training, and annual auditing, to be considered minimally compliant. All of this on top of maintaining a facility can be overwhelming. Thankfully, lockout/tagout technology is catching up to the needs of businesses and providing many with a system to control and organize the seeming mountain of responsibility. With the ever expanding industry in iPad apps and new uses for the technology being discovered every day, apps like the ScanESC™ app can improve efficiency SONY DSCand can increase the level of organization within your lockout program. With the iPad, it is now possible to track real time lockouts, have procedures at the ready, audit each procedure, and create tasks if necessary; it’s even possible to audit authorized employees. All of this information is then relayed to a secure server where the information is logged and organized as needed. This convenience makes it easy for management to keep track of the lockout program and the safety of the employees while simultaneously running a business.

With a compliant lockout/tagout program, each procedure must be audited annually. This means that employees must take time out of their daily schedule to go around to each machine or equipment and inspect the procedures once a year. This can take weeks at smaller facilities, or even months at a large facility. Each machine-specific procedure must be inspected, and it is often found that within the year’s time some procedures are dirty, moved or even missing. With this in mind, the time it takes to audit procedures can go up exponentially. Fortunately, technology has found a way to reduce this time and stress. Utilizing the iPad, it is now possible to have all of the procedures accessible electronically with no need to have a physical copy mounted in the harsh environments. Apps such as the ScanESC™ allow the auditor to bring up the procedure with a quick search along with a quick questionnaire that will allow the inspection to proceed quickly and efficiently. All audit results will be available to management where tasks utilizing-ipad-in-factorycan be assigned accordingly. This technology can significantly reduce the amount of time an employee must take away from regular tasks to comply with OSHA regulation and keep the facility running smoothly.

However, quick and easy auditing is not the only benefit. When locking out a piece of equipment, it is important that it is done safety but also quickly and efficiently. With the iPad, it is possible to record real time lockouts. This provides a stopwatch of sorts to record how long it takes each employee to lock out the specific piece of equipment. This tool allows management to assess the lockout procedure and determine if both safety and efficiency are being observed. If analyzed, it can provide insight into the facilities’ process and introduce improvements if necessary. If it is found that a specific employee is inefficient, the ScanESC™ app provides an evaluation tool to audit employees, allowing management to determine if an employee needs to be retrained.

Running a business is stressful enough without OSHA regulations. Efficiency is key and now with apps like ScanESC™ on the iPad, technology makes it easier than ever to manage a lockout program. Technology now makes it possible to inspect procedures electronically, take control of lockout/tagout’s effect on productivity and evaluate the performance of resources as necessary. Facilities can now stay OSHA compliant while also maintaining a level of organization and efficiency throughout the company that was never before possible.

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About Theresa Impink-Hernandez
Theresa Impink-Hernandez is a mechanical engineer at ESC who is responsible for the creation of machine specific lockout/tagout procedures for many fortune 500 clients around the US. Theresa has experience working with complex, integrated, process driven equipment with multiple interlocks to develop procedures that are intuitive, easy to use and most importantly – safe.