Lockout/Tagout Use is Important to Preventing Injuries


Lockout/tagout is a means of blocking all movement and de-energizing all energy sources.

When maintaining or repairing any machine or piece of equipment capable of movement or that uses electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, and other energy sources, it is vital to use correct lockout/tagout procedures.

Lockout/tagout is a means of blocking all movement and de-energizing all energy sources.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) estimates there are about 3 million workers who routinely service some sort of machinery or equipment that utilizes hazardous energy. Failure to control hazardous energy accounts for nearly 10 percent of the serious accidents that occur when a piece of equipment unexpectedly starts-up while repair or maintenance is underway. Workers can be electrocuted, burned, crushed or cut.

Texas Tech has lockout/tagout procedures in place that are outlined in Operating Policy 60.06. The university’s Physical Plant also has a lockout/tag out OP with several addendums in place for specific areas.

It is important that all new or transferred personnel working in this area be instructed on the significance of the lockout/tagout procedure and should be instructed in the purpose and use during job training.

The university’s OP defines a lockout device as a “device with the positive means to hold an energy-isolating device in the safe position and prevent the energizing of a machine or equipment.” This could be a keyed or combination lock.

Tagout is defined as “the placement of a tag on the energy-isolating device to indicate that the machine or equipment may not be operated until the tag is removed.”

The tag, or tagout device, serves as a warning mechanism and can be securely attached to an energy-isolating machine or piece of equipment. The apparatus cannot operate until the tagout device is removed.

The OP outlines the sequence of the lockout or tagout system procedure:

  • Notify all personnel that a lockout or tag out system is going to be utilized and the reason. Ensure the individual knows the type and magnitude of energy that the machine or equipment utilizes and understands the hazards it presents.
  • If the machine or equipment is operating, shut it down by the normal stopping procedure (depress stop button, open toggle switch, etc.)
  • Operate the switch, valve, or other energy isolating devices so the equipment is isolated from its energy sources. Dissipate or restrain stored energy (such as that in springs, elevated machine members, rotating flywheels, hydraulic systems, and air, gas, steam, or water pressure, etc.) by methods such as repositioning, blocking, bleeding down, etc. (List and include in this document the types of stored energy and methods used to dissipate or restrain.)
  • Lockout or tagout the energy isolating devices with assigned individual locks or tags (methods selected; i.e., locks, tags additional safety measures, etc.).
  • After ensuring that no personnel are exposed, and as a check on having disconnected the energy sources, operate the push button or other normal operating controls to make certain the equipment will not operate (types of
  • equipment checked to ensure disconnection). CAUTION: Return operating controls to “neutral” or “off” position after the test.
  • The equipment is now locked out or tagged out.

If you have questions, talk with your supervisor, or contact EH&S.

More information is available in OSHA’s downloadable Lockout/Tagout fact sheet that describes the practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment to prevent the release of hazardous energy.

If you have any comments or questions, please email safety@ttu.edu.

This information is not exhaustive and should not be construed as containing all the necessary compliance, safety, or warning information available. Please make sure you consult with EH&S or appropriate supervisors for all safety information and procedures.

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