There are many rules and regulations in place that refer to the safe and sound running of a business and its environment. Health and Safety may be the most ridiculed and bemoaned part of these regulations, but we all know that H&S is there for our own good.
After all, would we have enjoyed working in the environment that many of our grandfathers did? Many people have succumbed to lung diseases that came about via the inhalation of asbestos, for example, or suffer from other conditions that are directly the result of operating heavy machinery without the correct protection.
There are many more examples of such practices, which would not be permitted in the workplace today, and that’s what these rules are all about. In law, your employer has a duty of care to all employees, and that includes ensuring that the workplace complies with all safety regulations, and that it is a safe environment for all to work within.
Where heavy and potentially dangerous equipment and machinery is involved, this extends to implementing the lockout tagout procedure, otherwise known as LOTO. LOTO is a legal requirement in some countries – including the UK and Ireland – in the cases of certain types of equipment, so let’s have a look at what it’s about, and how to go about training your workforce for it. You can also contact Powerpoint Engineering for more details on LOTO training and equipment.
What is Lockout Tagout?
Put simply, lockout tagout is a procedure that prevents the unauthorised operation or machine or equipment by way of physical locks. All equipment, at some point, needs to be shut down, and it is important that it is never switched on by anyone who does not have the correct training, experience or authorisation.
This is the case in everything from large industrial machinery to the likes of fork lifts and other plant; each is potentially dangerous in the wrong hands, so you need to make sure that it cannot be started when the authorised personnel are not present.
It can also be a safety precaution when machinery is undergoing servicing or maintenance. Some machines are so large that people need to be within them when working on them, and the consequences of the machine being started when such is happening are unthinkable. So, the LOTO procedure is applied.
This involves the designated and trained operator announcing the machine is shutting down, then isolating the power supplies – not just electricity but any other energy sources involves such as gas, air or water – and then locking and tagging them. The tag contains the information of the operator, the lock can only be opened by the key that the designated operator now holds.
The upshot is that only that operator can now set the machine in motion. He or she must be present with the key to unlock the tag and get things going again, and no other method will be acceptable. This is why you need people who are adequately trained in the lockout-tagout routine and procedure, so who do you get to train them?
Training Your Team
If you already have experienced LOTO team members on your staff, you can use them to train the new ones. However, it is strongly recommended that you get a professional to come to your site and provide the training, as they will be able to cover every aspect from the importance of lockout tagout, through how to fill out the paperwork, and how the procedure must be followed every time.
LOTO is a simple procedure, yet it is one that is required by law and that saves lives, so get the experts in, and make sure you have people on site who know what’s it’s all about.