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A guide to lockout tagout procedures: 6 steps to safety

Michael Holmes

The term ‘lockout tagout procedures’ (or LOTO), refers to the products and processes used to ensure equipment is shut down properly until maintenance or repair work is complete.

When followed correctly, this helps to keep employees safe from any machinery that could otherwise cause serious harm (or death) if switched on accidently. From Confined Space Barriers through to Reusable Cable Lockouts and Padlocks and Hasps, there are several lockout systems that your business may rely on.

In this article, we explore a step-by-step guide on lockout procedures with examples of devices used to maximise safety.

1.    Prepare & notify employees before maintenance occurs

When a shutdown of equipment or machine must occur, authorised personnel must investigate and gain a complete understanding of the hazardous energy that might be controlled. This could include the following types of hazards:

  • Chemical
  • Electrical
  • Mechanical
  • Hydraulic
  • Pneumatic
  • Thermal
  • Other sources of energy

Affected employees must then be notified of the shutdown and potential hazards. Whether it be over radio, during a briefing, or at the physical location where the equipment is located, it’s important to communicate before any actions are taken. This means before any maintenance occurs and is a required step to initiate the LOTO (Lockout Tagout) procedure.


2.    Perform the shutdown

With preparation complete, the process of shutting down and locking out the piece of equipment or machinery begins. This can be initiated through normal stopping procedures such as pushing a STOP button, flipping a switch to the OFF position, or closing a valve.

Once done, it should then be reported to any employee affected by the shutdown, even if they won’t play a role in the service or maintenance.

3.    Isolate the machine from energy source

The next step requires isolating the equipment or machine from its source by using energy-isolating devices. This should physically prevent the transmission of energy, using the likes of a circuit breaker, a line valve, or a block.

It’s important to note, ON/OFF and STOP buttons do not qualify as energy-isolating devices.

4.    Apply your lockout tagout solution

With the equipment or machine successfully isolated for its energy source, the next part if the procedure involves the physical lock and tag out of the machine.

During this stage, the authorised personnel will attach lockout and/or tagout devices to each energy-isolating device. The point is to apply the lockout device on the energy-isolating device in a way that ensures it remains in the ‘safe’ position.

At REGALTAGS, we provide a range of Lockout systems designed to provide a reliable and safe solution. Our large stock is available for rapid delivery and designed for continued use in even the harshest of environments. Utilising UV, freeze, and tear resistant materials, we provide peace of mind with long-lasting lockout solutions.

From Reusable Cable Lockouts, through to Wire Locks, Lockout Hasps, Isolation Tags, and more, we have all you need to maximise safety during your lockout tagout procedure.

Find more information through our Lockout Systems range, or get in touch with our expert team about your requirements today. We can meet the needs of your procedure and business with customised lockout systems!

lockout tagout

5.    Check for stored energy

Even though the energy source has been disconnected and the equipment or machine has been locked out, that doesn’t entirely guarantee safety. There may well still be energy stored within the machine that could cause harm to the repair or maintenance team.

It’s important to check for and drain any stored energy, which can be done by relieving pressure, bleeding liquids, venting gasses, or releasing tension in compressed springs until the energy is dissipated.  

6.    Confirm the isolation

At this point, the machine has been shut down, isolated, locked out, and checked for stored energy. An authorised employee can now double-check all has been completed successfully and give the all-clear for safe working on the maintenance or repairs.

Lockout tagout systems from REGALTAGS

Taking control of your organisation’s lockout procedures can be done efficiently through the use of our lockout systems at REGALTAGS. With a wide range of products designed to suit a number of environments and applications, as well as customisation options, we can provide all you need for safer working conditions.

If you’re looking for lockout systems that your business can rely on, get in touch with our expert team at REGALTAGS today – we’re just a call or click away.


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