Materials and Hardware
Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) Devices
Employers must provide protective materials and hardware required for LOTO procedures. They must provide locks, tags, chains, wedges, key blocks, adapter pins, self-locking fasteners, or other hardware for isolating, securing or blocking machines or equipment from their energy sources. Below are a few examples:
LOTO Device Requirements
There are many requirements for the lockout and tagout devices:
- LOTO devices must be durable, so that they are capable of withstanding the environment to which they are exposed for the maximum period of time that exposure is expected. Lockout devices must work under the environmental conditions in which they are used. Warnings on tagout devices must be legible even in wet, damp, or corrosive conditions.
- Must be singularly identified.
- Must be the only devices used for controlling energy.
- Must not be used for other purposes.
- Must be standardized within the facility in at least one of the following criteria: color, shape, or size. Additionally, tagout devices must be standardized as to print and format.
- Must be identifiable, in that it indicates the identity of the employee applying the devices.
LOTO devices must be substantial enough to prevent removal without the use of excessive force or unusual techniques such as with the use of bolt cutters or other metal cutting tools.
LOTO Device Criteria
Lockout and tagout devices must meet the four criteria listed below to ensure that they're effective and not removed inadvertently.
- Durable: Lockout devices must work under the environmental conditions in which they are used. Warnings on tagout devices must be legible even in wet, damp, or corrosive conditions.
- Standardized: Lockout and tagout devices must be designated by color, shape, or size. Tagout devices must have a standardized print and warning format.
- Substantial: Lockout devices and tagout devices must be strong enough that they can't be removed inadvertently. Tagout devices must be attached with a single-use, self-locking material such as a nylon cable tie.
- Identifiable: Any employee who sees a lockout or tagout device must recognize who attached it and understand its purpose. Each lock must have a unique key or combination; this means that only the employee who uses the lock has the key or the combination to that lock.
Additional Tagout Device Criteria
In addition to those listed previously, there are other hardware requirements that are specific to tagout.
Here is a list of those requirements:
- Must be constructed and printed so that exposure to weather conditions or wet and damp locations will not cause the tag to deteriorate or the message on the tag to become illegible.
- Must not deteriorate when used in corrosive environments such as areas where acid and alkali chemicals are handled and stored.
- Must be standardized in print and format.
- Must be substantial to prevent inadvertent or accidental removal.
- Must have an attachment means of a non-reusable type, attachable by hand, self-locking, and non-releasable with a minimum unlocking strength of no less than 50 pounds and having the general design and basic characteristics of being at least equivalent to a one-piece all-environment-tolerant nylon cable tie.
- Must warn against hazardous conditions if the machine or equipment is energized.
- Must include a legend such as: Do Not Start, Do Not Open, Do Not Close, Do Not Energize, Do Not Operate.
From January 2000 to December 2008, there were 17 MSHA fatalities related to accidents due to failure to follow proper Lock Out / Tag Out Procedures in Coal mining operations. This short video shows what can instantly when lockout/tagout procedures are not followed.
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