Lockout/Tagout Programs

Date: March 9, 2021

Doug Sams, Risk Control Consultant

Machine-Specific Lockout Procedures

OSHA requires employers to develop lockout/tagout (LOTO) written programs. The contents of the programs include energy control procedures. These procedures should describe, in general, how the employer will comply with OSHA‘s lockout/tagout regulation.

Lockout/Tagout Programs 

OSHA requires a lock and tag on energy control devices during machine maintenance. The program describes how the company locks out energy control devices. In other words, it should describe how the company would lock out a hand-operated valve, circuit breaker, knife switch, control panel, etc. It would also describe the company's group lockout/tagout program.

Types of Energy 

LOTO Programs describe the different types of energy that are present in the employer's facilities such as plant air (pneumatic), electrical up to 600 VAC, capacitors or batteries that store energy, process chemicals, press brake dyes, etc.

LOTO Hardware

The program should also identify any LOTO hardware available and what each type of hardware controls. For example, all process piping will be blanked, or hand-operated valves will be locked out using a clam shell cover over the valve handle, etc.

Participants in LOTO 

Finally, the LOTO program should have a general description of the participants in a LOTO (affected employee, authorized employee, and LOTO Supervisor) and their responsibilities.

OSHA also requires machine-specific LOTO procedures.

Machine-Specific Procedures 

Machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures provide a step-by-step procedure for bringing a specific machine to a zero energy state; and how to bring it back on line. Machine-specific procedures should include:

  • The physical location of the equipment
  • Identification of affected employees
  • A written description of the normal machine shut down procedure
  • Specific energy sources and energy isolating devices for each machine

Putting Machine-Specific Procedures to Use

Use this example to put together your own machine-specific LOTO procedure. Machine XYZ is down for maintenance and has electrical, pneumatic, kinetic, and hydraulic energy sources. Below is an abbreviated example of a machine-specific LOTO procedure.

  1. Shut down the machine and notify the affected employee(s).
  2. To isolate process piping, close hand-operated valve 1A. Lock the handle with a clam shell cover.
  3. To isolate electrical, turn off Knife Switch KS1. Lock the switch in the off position.
  4. To isolate hydraulic energy, close valve M1. Bleed remaining pressure from the hydraulic line at relief valve RV1. Disconnect the hydraulic line where it connects to the machine.
  5. To verify the machine is at a zero energy state, press the start button.

The procedure would then describe how to clear the machine of people, tools, etc., and include step-by-step instructions for bringing the machine back on line. The first and last step of any LOTO procedure should be to notify the affected employees.

Whenever possible, include pictures of the energy isolation devices and on/off switches in machine-specific procedures.

BITCO has a sample machine-specific lockout/tagout template. If you would like a copy of the sample template or have any questions regarding LOTO or other safety-related topics, please notify your BITCO Risk Control Consultant. To learn more about us, consult with a BITCO agent.

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For information purposes only. BITCO's blog content does not address all potential circumstances and is not a substitute for business, safety, or legal consultation.

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