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Lockout/tagout procedures are the foundation of an energy control program. It is the first requirement set by OSHA standard 1910.147 and the first step in keeping employees safe. Consequently, it is important to know what OSHA is looking for in a lockout/tagout procedure and what the minimum requirements for a lockout- tagout procedure are. Procedures are vitally important in the everyday safety of the employees of a company. Therefore, every procedure should contain clear and concise instructions and information as to how to lockout a specific piece of machinery.
When creating lockout procedures, it is important to reference OSHA standard 1910.147. The information required on each procedure is as follows:
- A statement of the intended use of the procedure;
- The type and magnitude of the energy that the machine utilizes;
- The hazards of the energy sources;
- Methods for shutting down and controlling the energy;
- Steps for the placement and removal of lockout devices, and;
- Ways to verify the machine has been properly locked out.
However, conveying this information does not make a successful lockout procedure. OSHA recommends that a specific lockout step be documented to properly instruct the authorized employee how to correctly lockout a machine. The lockout shutdown sequence should include the following:
- Notify all affected employees that servicing is required and the machine is going to be locked out; this needs to be done before lockout is performed.
- The authorized employee should familiarize themselves with the procedure; employees must have knowledge of the energy sources & their hazards and understand how to lock them out.
- The employee shall locate the devices needed to lockout the equipment.
- If the machine or equipment is operating, shut it down by the normal stopping procedure.
- Energy sources need to be isolated and controlled. Lockout or tagout devices should be applied to each source by the authorized employee.
- Stored or residual energy must be dissipated or restrained by methods such as blocking or chaining, bleeding off pressure, or repositioning parts. If there is a possibility of re-accumulation of energy, verification must be continued throughout the lockout.
- Finally the employee must verify the lockout has been effectively been applied by testing the machine for re-energization using the machine controls or other means.
By instituting this lockout sequence into the procedures, the authorized employee will have no confusion as to how to lock out the machine.
However, with all the information required, it is common for lockout procedures get cluttered and unnecessarily wordy. A facility can prevent this by sticking to a few rules:
- Keep the wording simple and consistent between procedures.
- Include only the basic principles of what the technicians need to know.
- Use pictures to enhance the procedures and show specific isolation points.
- Color coordinate energy sources to easily identify what needs to be locked out.
- Have a consistent layout between procedures.
- Try to keep the procedure to a single page.
It is best to keep in mind that when authorized employees are locking out equipment, especially complex pieces, it is beneficial to give them the information in the least complicated way as to not confuse or distract them from performing the lockout safely. Following these guidelines will ensure procedures are easy to use while providing all of the necessary information to keep employees safe. ESC Services is a leader in graphical lockout/tagout procedure creation. For more information on how ESC can help, please contact us.