You hear the stories. Heck, you may have been the one to tell a few of these stories. “That one time Joe So-and-So wasn’t paying attention and he got hung up on an electric panel.” Or maybe the machine restarted while protective guards weren’t replaced.

Whatever the case, it’s hard to get work done while government agencies like OSHA or MSHA are on site to investigate. Working with power production and conveyors means taking risks. We rely on the mechanical advantage of the machines to do a lot of the heavy lifting for us, but injury and death are still very close at hand. In these cases, it is essential to ensure your operations are completely failsafe. Better yet, we might as well go the extra mile and make it totally idiot proof.

When in doubt, lock it out.

We know it as LOTO procedures – lockout-tagout. These are the protocols and processes designed to protect your workers from hazards on your site, especially those dealing with any kind of high-energy source. LOTO is especially crucial when during maintenance, repairs, or anytime you have to get up close and personal with the machinery. LOTO removes the surprises and keeps your team in one piece.

LOTO procedures are detailed and exact. When implemented correctly, there is only one way they work. Faling to follow the procedure means the lockout doesn’t happen. You might have seen LOTO in action on other sites. They might look like:

Electrical LOTO – breaking the circuit at the control panel and physically locking it into the “off” position, and then securing a tag to make sure no one tries to remove the lock.

Mechanical LOTO – making sure parts stop moving by isolating energy sources. Locking out valves or securing and tagging pneumatic and hydraulic sources are common types of mechanical LOTO. A critical follow up to mechanical LOTO tasks is to ensure that mechanical guarding is appropriately reinstalled prior to removing the LOTO tags.

The ultimate goal: make the machine totally inoperable before you attempt repairs or maintenance. Beyond that, the machinery should be very, very difficult for someone to accidentally restart. Remove the power, remove the risk.

Creating and Using Lockout-Tagout Procedures.

Want to go a step further? We’re also seeing the implementation of Lockout-Tagout-Tryout procedures. Just as it sounds, go through the lockout and tagout procedures, and then try to start up the operation again. The added layer of safety that comes with knowing for certain the process is fully disconnected from its power source.

Most industrial facilities are designed by engineers, which means their construction and operation follows a good degree of logic. Humans, however, rarely follow logic. When it comes to the general safety of your team you can’t always rely on individual self-awareness. Lockout-Tagout procedures are something Motus Group advises on whenever we implement new equipment in our client’s facilities. It’s also something we stick to whenever we are on-site for an inspection, repair, or replacement of any of our equipment.

Safety truly is one of our top priorities. Let us show you how.

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