A lockout tagout (“LOTO”) lock can be an essential tool to ensure the safety of your fellow employees when working with hazardous energy. Because of this, it is critical to complete extensive due diligence when selecting the right LOTO lock for your business. But when contemplating several different LOTO locks, there are several things to keep in mind.
First, a key point. You cannot use a standard padlock from a hardware store to protect your colleagues from hazardous energy. While the temptation may be there to save money and purchase a lock that is “good enough,” doing can jeopardize the health of your employees. Along with this, as will be explained below, purchasing an off-the-shelf lock from your local hardware store may place your organization at risk for non-compliance with federal regulations. Therefore, you will need to use a lock that simply isn’t “used for other purposes.” It must be a specialized lock that meets the requirements below. You can tell that a LOTO lock is a specialized lock because it looks different from other padlocks.
Next, you must confirm that your selected LOTO lock complies with the appropriate OSHA standard. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) released a specific regulatory standard governing the control of hazardous energy sources (lockout/tagout). In all likelihood, your business must comply with the OSHA standard. It is critical for you and your corporate counsel to read the standard, as it governs LOTO locks on everything from standardization of your LOTO locks to how they must be used in your business.
Beyond an analysis of the OSHA requirements, however, you will want to ensure that your LOTO lock meets several key durability standards. By following these standards, you will be able to purchase a lock that keeps you safe while meeting your needs. If you were to look at our collection of LOTO locks, you would notice that they include these standards, giving you the confidence that your purchased LOTO lock offers the best protection.
For instance, our industrial-grade LOTO locks are constructed to provide the most inherent durability. In terms of the “right” materials for your LOTO locks, you can go several different directions. You can find LOTO locks made out of chrome steel, plastic resin, and more. We have chosen a thermoplastic body, however, due to its temperature durability and non-conductivity properties. Our LOTO locks also contain a brass cylinder (due to its resistance to corrosion) and a stainless steel shackle (due to its durability, sustainability, and lack of conductivity compared to alternatives ). Ultimately, it is a LOTO lock that resists corrosion and provides best in class durability for all environments.
If you foresee your LOTO lock experiencing a significant amount of vibration, it may raise questions about durability. In fact, for whatever reason, many LOTO locks rattle on the inside of the body. This rattling, over time, can wear out the internal components. The sound can also be annoying. Our LOTO locks, however, were tightly engineered to minimize the problem. Their inherent design can give you even more confidence that your LOTO locks will hold up under stress.
There are some other critical safety features in the best LOTO locks. As an example, one important safety feature found in our LOTO locks is a premium cylinder reserved for safety padlocks. This is extremely important, as it confirms that the padlock is not unlocked. Because the workday can be busy and stressful, having this feature in your LOTO locks can help your colleagues avoid any mistakes.
Another critical feature of any LOTO lock is that it contains one key per lock. While this is a simple and relatively self-explanatory feature, it goes a long way in ensuring the safety of you and your colleagues. In fact, purchasing and using LOTO locks that contain one key make compliance with the OSHA standard much more likely. Intuitively, this makes sense. By having one key, the odds are much greater that the LOTO lock is being removed by the employee who applied it in the first place, rather than an untrained employee.
To comply with the OSHA standard, LOTO locks must have certain labeling. Specifically, they need to indicate the identity of the employee applying the LOTO lock. This is an essential tracking feature that is closely tied to the “one key per lock” directive. It confirms that your lockout tagout procedures are organized and precise. Our collection of LOTO locks has a writeable label that can allocate responsibility for each LOTO lock in your organization.
All of these factors must be considered when purchasing LOTO locks. While you will want to consider the unique challenges and conditions in your business, purchasing LOTO locks with the features above will ensure compliance and protect your colleagues.