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3 common lockout tagout mistakes & how to avoid

Braden Lewis

We look at three common lockout tagout mistakes and how they can be avoided for a safe and compliant working environment.

The term ‘lockout tagout procedures’ (LOTO), refers to the steps taken to secure equipment and machinery during maintenance or repair work to prevent accidental activation and harm to employees. The goal of LOTO is to ensure the safe and secure shut down of equipment until work is complete.

There are various LOTO systems available for businesses, including Confined Space Barriers, Reusable Cable Lockouts, Padlocks, and Hasps, among others. When properly followed, these systems help keep workers safe from injury, and prevent accidental deaths.

In this article, we look at three common lockout tagout mistakes and how they can be avoided for a safe and compliant working environment.

1. Failure to retrain or update lockout tagout procedures

Having a comprehensive energy-control program with written procedures and trained employees is a great start. But it’s only the beginning. To maintain a compliant LOTO program, it’s crucial to conduct yearly audits and ensure that procedures and being followed.

Regular retraining should take place as well, especially when new machines are introduced or when workers are given a new assignment.

It’s also important to foster a workplace culture where workers feel comfortable voicing their concerns or suggestions. Workers have a unique perspective on their job and may suggest improvements to the lockout program in place. Encouraging worker input can lead to more effective and efficient LOTO procedures.

2. Incorrect use of tags

Lockout Tagout (LOTO) tags play an important role in ensuring that equipment is properly secured during maintenance or repair work. An incorrect use of tags can lead to confusion and potentially cause harm to workers.

Businesses should ensure that employees understand the correct use of LOTO tags, including how and when to attach and remove. As well, authorised personnel should be the only ones that apply LOTO tags and they shouldn’t be used for anything else other than the intended purpose. Here’s why.

If “Danger Do Not Operate” tags are strictly for servicing and maintenance, using this in any other way will degrade the importance and therefore become less effective.

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3. Lack of equipment-specific lockout procedures

Handling specialised equipment or complex systems that need detailed lockout procedures requires extra caution. It's essential to use specific lockout devices for each component and to have identification tags assigned to each worker on the job site. These measures are crucial in ensuring a successful maintenance process, as without them, the task could become problematic.

As an example, working in confined spaces can pose significant hazards without the right procedure or equipment in place. If during major works, such as shutdowns, access to a confined space is left open, this creates a risk of unauthorised personnel entering. However, the use of a confined space barrier provides a reliable solution to restricting access as well as altering personnel of the work. By covering and securing entry points, a shutdown can take place safely and effectively. 

Confined space barrier

Ensure safe working with Lockout Tagout

Preventing accidents at the workplace is a joint responsibility of both the employer and employees. With the correct lockout tagout procedures, training, and attitude, taking control of your workplace’s safety should be a breeze.

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.

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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