7 Most Common Lockout/Tagout Mistakes That Can Result in Injuries or Deaths

7 Most Common Lockout/Tagout Mistakes That Can Result in Injuries or Deaths

06th August 2020

Lockout/Tagout processes are aimed at protecting machinery, staff, and workplace from accidents and injuries that may occur during maintenance or repairs. Staff and technicians are required to strictly follow proper lockout processes to prevent any accidents and fatalities. However, there are still quite many severities and fatalities recorded in different workplaces despite elaborate audits and recommendations. We’ve compiled a list of 7 most common Lockout/Tagout mistakes that can result in accidents and injuries. But first, ensure you have the necessary access equipment such as a plant platform to access different machinery in the workplace.

  1. Lack of Specific Procedures

Each piece of equipment or process should have specific procedures that identify all energy sources and energy isolation devices. This shall be used as the checklist to ensure that all the energy sources are under control before proceeding with servicing and maintenance. Ensure to provide each of your employees with specific lockout devices for each part to enable for a smooth maintenance process.

  1. Working Under Someone Else’s Lock

Taking someone else’s key so you can shut off the equipment and perform a lockout on their behalf for whatever reason is wrong. You will be putting others in a higher level of danger even if they gave you a go-ahead. Everyone going into a dangerous area must perform the actual shutoff and lockout process on their own.

  1. Wrong Use of Locks

Lockout locks are solely meant for locking out equipment. Unfortunately, some workers use these locks for other purposes such as locking a personal locker or toolbox. Most technicians usually hold their set of tagged lockout devices with a single key for traceability, responsibility, and accountability purposes. Some workers also tend to use master keys or duplicate keys without fully verifying if the equipment has been cleared for operations.

  1. Leaving the Keys in the Lock While Performing Lockout

A worker might be tempted to leave the key in the lock while performing the service and maintenance task for fear of losing the key. This is a dangerous thing to do as another worker could come along and remove the lock without the knowledge of someone working on the equipment. This could easily put another worker’s life in danger.

  1. Skipping the Process for Quick Jobs

Skipping the Lockout/Tagout process altogether for quick jobs is a dangerous mistake one can make. Some workers may think it isn’t necessary to go through the entire procedure just because they’ll only be in the area for a brief moment. Each second counts when you’re in these areas; a potentially dangerous accident could occur. Employers and supervisors must make it clear that no employee should go in these areas without first completing the Lockout/Tagout process. You may use warning signs in entry areas to remind your workers to ensure they’ve taken the proper precautions before it’s too late.

  1. Lack of Training

Before entrusting your workers with repair or maintenance tasks, you must ensure they’re properly trained on safety and proper lockout procedures for different equipment under their control. Without the necessary training, the worker in charge may hardly perform the lockout process safely and this may compromise their safety and that of the other workers.

  1. Failure to Double-Check the Settings

Before commencing the lockout procedure, the power sources should be disconnected, residues emptied, movable machine parts firmly locked in place, and machinery locked out. Failure to double-check these settings usually prove fatal. Some workers also forget to check all connections before unlocking and restarting the machines.