As we enter the month of June, we recognize National Safety Month. National Safety Month focuses on reducing the leading causes of injuries and deaths at work, home, and within our communities. To bring awareness one step closer to the 30+ industries that work closely with Gensuite each day, we want to discuss Lockout Tagout (LOTO) procedures–the process of safeguarding employees in industrial and research settings to ensure that dangerous machines are properly shut off and not able to be started up again prior to the completion of necessary maintenance or repair work. Here are 6 tips and an infographic you can use as a visual guide at work to improve your LOTO procedures.
- Choose the Right Devices
A lockout device is an extremely important component of a LOTO program. Industrial machines, circuit breakers, plugs, switches, push buttons, and valves are just some of the items that often require lockout devices. Since there are so many LOTO choices, choosing which device to purchase, such as industrial locks or circuit breaker lockout systems, may seem overwhelming. First, determine exactly what you need. Second, standardize and organize your lockout devices.
- Thoroughly Document Procedures
Lockout procedures need to be formally documented. This will keep workers and management on the same page and help to eliminate any potential confusion. Documentation also provides workers with a valuable training resource. Formal documentation is required by OSHA but, given the differences in workplaces and machines, not every procedure will be the same. Gensuite Inspection Tool ensures you’re making all your required checks and documenting requirements at the same time.
- Clearly Mark All Isolation Points
All energy control points should be clearly and permanently marked with standardized tags or labels. Tags and labels should be easily visible. It is also very important to make sure all energy isolation points are consistent with machine-specific procedures.
- Develop a Rigorous Training Program
Effective training is an indispensable part of a successful lockout program. It can also be one of the most difficult parts because all workplaces and workforces need to be trained according to their specific needs. As OSHA requires that lockout/tagout training occur at least annually, yearly training should be seen as a bare minimum rather than an ideal. Gensuite offers Training Management Software to help fulfill your training compliance needs.
- Evaluate for Improvement
Careful evaluation is an invaluable tool for improvement. The success of lockout training and written procedures can only be truly gauged after they have been put to use in an actual maintenance or repair situation. Evaluation is necessary to make sure that the training exercises, procedures, and devices are working properly. It also affords opportunities to make improvements that may not have been obvious in the training stage. Gensuite LOTO software works with you now and into the future to ensure that you continue to excel.
- Evolve with Requirements
As more requirements and stringent guidelines are introduced, it is important to make sure your program is up to date. Open communication between all levels of employment will help your lockout program reach its potential. A program that encourages communication can identify strengths and weaknesses much more efficiently than a program that remains static and unchanging after initial training. Employees should be encouraged to communicate which training exercises are working well and which ones are not working as well.
For more information on Lockout Tagout safety or to try the Gensuite LOTO tool for yourself, contact us today.