Lockout is defined in the Canadian standard CSA Z460-13 “Control of Hazardous Energy – Lockout and Other Methods” as the “placement of a lockout device on an energy-isolating device in accordance with an established procedure.” A lockout device is “a mechanical means of locking that uses an individually keyed lock to secure an energy-isolating device in a position that prevents energization of a machine, equipment, or a process.”
In practice, lockout is the isolation of energy from the system (a machine, equipment, or process) which physically locks the system in a safe mode. The energy-isolating device can be a manually operated disconnect switch, a circuit breaker, a line valve, or a block (Note: push buttons, selection switches and other circuit control switches are not considered energy-isolating devices). In most cases, these devices will have loops or tabs which can be locked to a stationary item in a safe position (de-energized position). The locking device (or lockout device) can be any device that has the ability to secure the energy-isolating device in a safe position.
Tag out is a labeling process that is always used when lockout is required. The process of tagging out a system involves attaching or using an information tag or indicator (usually a standardized label) that includes the following information:
- Why the lockout/tag out is required (repair, maintenance, etc.).
- Time of application of the lock/tag.
- The name of the authorized person who attached the tag and lock to the system.
Note: ONLY the authorized individual who placed the lock and tag onto the system is the one who is permitted to remove them. This procedure helps make sure the system cannot be started up without the authorized individual’s knowledge.
Every company must have a lockout/tag out program in place. A lockout/tag out program will help prevent:
- Contact with a hazard while performing tasks that require the removal, by-passing, or deactivation of safe-guarding devices.
- The unintended release of hazardous energy (stored energy).
- The unintended start-up or motion of machinery, equipment, or processes.
An organization will have one lockout program document, and as many sets of work instructions as required, depending on the number of systems that require lockout.
The written lockout procedures will identify types of hazardous energy covered by the procedures, types of energy-isolating or de-energizing devices, what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, what tools are needed to do it, who is supposed to do it, how the shutdown/de-energization/energization/start-up will occur, who required education and training, and who needs to be notified. As with all programs or procedures, a continuous improvement or auditing step should also occur.
The document should specify:
- The actual specific machine, equipment, or process involved in the shutdown and isolation process.
- How and where the lockout devices are installed.
- How stored energy is controlled and de-energized.
- How the isolation can be verified.
Work instructions will identify how the lockout process is to be carried out in a step-by-step manner including how stored energy is controlled and de-energized, how isolation can be verified, and how and where lockout devices are installed. Work instructions are machine, equipment or process specific and may include pictures or images of what is being described.
Proper Lockout/Tagout training can be completed with an onsite training provider or by taking an online lockout tagout training course that meets and exceeds the safety training and compliance standards set by Canada’s OHS & CSA regulatory bodies.