What is Lockout Tagout?
Lockout tagout (LOTO) is a safety procedure that ensures that dangerous machinery and energy sources are properly shut off and are not started up unexpectedly while maintenance or service work is being completed. Activating the equipment or power source before these tasks are complete puts the person maintaining or servicing it at risk.
Why do we use Lockout Tagout?
If lockout tagout practices are not observed employees can be seriously injured or killed by the machinery or equipment they are working on or around. Such machinery includes, but isn’t limited to:
- Lift Machinery
- Switch Gear,
- Distribution Cabinets
- Devices such as compactors, which use hydraulics.
- Swimming Pool Plant Equipment
Not all the above will apply to your school, but as I mentioned before, the above list is not comprehensive.
What is a Lockout Tagout Kit and How do I Use It?
Lockout tagout kits are bundles of lockout tagout devices that can be used for multiple different lockout tagout procedures. Usually they contain things like tags, padlocks, and other devices that help prevent injury or death, by energised or mechanical equipment.
Typically, a Lockout Tagout Kit, comprises of a device, with clips that prevent a switch from being operated. This works, by clipping the jaws together, through the hole on the switch itself. Then a padlock is connected to the base of the device, to prevent the switch from being operated. Finally, the tag warns others, that the device must not be used and also states who is authorised to remove the lock and the tag.
To summarize, Lockout Tagout is a device which can save lives and prevent injury and death, by locking out electrical and mechanical equipment, while maintenance is carried out. Never remove or cut off a lock, unless you are the person authorised to do so. If you are unsure, ask!