Lock Out Tag Out Procedures
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers are responsible for the health and safety of their workers. Part of this is ensuring proper lockout procedures on farm. Lockout procedures are used to prevent injury due to contact with energy from equipment. Lockout should be used when servicing farm equipment and doing things such as cleaning, unplugging, lubricating, adjusting, or repairing machinery. No servicing should be done unless the lockout is in place.
Proper lockout steps include:
1) Planning for the lockout by identifying all energy sources, switches, etc.
2) Notifying all workers affected by the lockout and when it will be taking place
3) Shutting down equipment by normal means by turning switches and closing valves
4) Isolating equipment from energy sources by disconnecting or blocking energy sources
5) Locking out and tagging energy isolating devices using a padlock or other locking device the worker has control over and a tag indicating that someone has shut down the equipment
6) Verifying that all energy sources have been isolated by attempting to cycle the equipment prior to starting work
7) Releasing equipment from lockout once work is complete
8) Testing the equipment
The employer is responsible for conducting the initial review of which switches, valves, or other energy isolating devices are going to be affected by the lockout. Energy isolating devices include disconnecting switches, circuit breakers, valves, or other devices that ensure energy cannot flow to equipment or machinery. Workers need to know which energy sources may need to be controlled for the lockout. There should be a written sequence for equipment access, lockout, clearance, release and start-up when the lockout procedure is more complex. All affected workers need to be notified of the lockout and the reason for the lockout.
Prior to the lockdown, if the equipment is operating, use the normal stopping procedure to shut it down. It is important to note that pulling a fuse is not a substitute for a lockout. With a pulled fuse there is no guarantee that the circuit is dead, which still presents possibility for hazard. For example, another worker could replace the fuse.
To lockout an energy-isolating device an assigned, individual lock should be used. In situations where more than one worker is working on the same equipment at the same time, each worker should lockout the equipment using their personal locks. The individual locks need to clearly show the name of the person who applied the lock and include the date and the reason for the lockout. This allows for identification of who is completing the servicing and helps to identify workers who may not have finished working on the equipment. If the equipment being locked out has an ignition, place a warning sign over the ignition switch to inform others that it is being worked on.
Prior to releasing a lockout and restoring energy, the work area needs to be inspected to ensure non-essential items are removed and that the machine is ready for operation. Workers need to be a safe distance away from any potential hazards. Individual locks should be removed by each individual from the energy-isolating device. Affected workers should be notified when locks have been removed.
Lockout procedures need to be conducted properly as they can present a serious hazard. All workers should be informed on safe lockout procedures and the steps to a lockout. The information provided above is a brief summary of lockout procedures.
Elite Agri Solutions has an online course available to train employees and operators in Lock Out Tag Out procedures, the course can be found here. Elite Agri Solutions offers workplace safety training and education on health and safety. We will ensure your workplace is safe and that your workers know how to safely complete a lockout. Do not hesitate to contact us for more information on this service.