Lockout / Tagout (LOTO) is a critical component of any safety program. OSHA defines LO/TO this way:
"Lockout/Tagout refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities."
OSHA goes on to explain the importance of LOTO:
"Approximately 3 million workers service equipment and face the greatest risk of injury if lockout/tagout is not properly implemented. Compliance with the lockout/tagout standard (29 CFR 1910.147) prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation. In a study conducted by the United Auto Workers (UAW), 20% of the fatalities (83 of 414) that occurred among their members between 1973 and 1995 were attributed to inadequate hazardous energy control procedures specifically, lockout/tagout procedures."
The term Lockout/Tagout refers to actions taken to protect employees from equipment energization or the release of energy while they are servicing or maintaining equipment or machinery.
Lockout/Tagout requires that a designated individual disconnect the machinery or equipment from its energy source(s), in a manner such that it can not be reconnected except by that same individual. The designated individual is usually the person who will be working on the equipment or machinery.
To prevent re-energization either a lock or tag is used to prevent the equipment from being re-energized. Locks and tags are often used with devices such as covers, hasps, shackles and other devices that prevent activation of valves and switches.
Visit OSHA for more information about the LOTO process.
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