Performing a safe and accurate lockout procedure can be complex for one person, however when a group lockout (sometimes across multiple machines) is required, it can become increasingly more complicated and impose significant health and safety risks. Therefore, it is essential that lockout tagout procedures are correctly communicated and performed with no errors.
In this article, we are going to share our five tips for a successful group lockout procedure to ensure a smooth process and a safer workplace for those involved.
Identify the risks
The first step in the process of implementing a lockout tagout programme is to identify any possible risks. Decision-makers within the group should carry out an equipment appraisal to identify every piece of machinery within the production facility that could pose a risk to staff working within or nearby.
As part of this process, all energy control points should be identified and mapped out. And all valves, switches, circuit breakers, and plugs that will require a lockout label or tag need to be noted down. Other risks to note include environmental factors such as confined spaces, or exposure to weather.
Develop and document a group lockout policy
Developing and documenting an equipment energy control policy is essential in preparing for an effective group lockout procedure. This policy document should:
- Outline the elements of the procedure
- Define responsibilities of each employee
- Include isolation procedures
- Include permits to work
- Outline the use of lockout tagout products and how to return equipment to its regular operation
In addition to the central policy document, machine and task-specific guidelines should be drawn-up and displayed at the appropriate points in the facility. These guidelines should include details of:
- The shutdown and isolation procedure for each piece of machinery/ equipment
- The placement, removal, and transfer of the lockout tagout devices being utilized