[Infographic] LOTO Padlocks: 4 Things to Consider Before Buying

March 01, 2022 3 min read

During preventive maintenance or repair, safety padlocks can be used to lock off multiple equipment or machinery. They are an essential component of industrial safety precautions and are equally important in any area that houses heavy machinery or electrical systems.

Many lockout tagout hardware alternatives make it difficult to choose which padlock is best for your particular use and needs. So, to help guide you in finding the best LOTO padlock, we’ve gathered some of the most important considerations when selecting your safety lockout padlocks.

LOTO Padlocks: 4 Things to Consider Before Buying

Padlock Body Material Type

One of the most significant features of an OSHA-compliant LOTO padlock is its durability. So, it's crucial to know the material used in the manufacture of the safety padlock body before purchasing. The following are some of the most common body material options on the market:

Steel. Made with reinforced laminated steel, steel padlocks are incredibly durable and tensile. As such, they are capable of withstanding long exposure to extreme conditions, such as high temperatures and corrosive chemicals.

Aluminum. Padlocks made of aluminum are nearly as strong and durable as those made of steel. Thus, they can withstand high temperatures and resist ultraviolet rays and other chemicals. Plus, there are anodized aluminum variants that can be used in the food processing sector as they provide improved durability and corrosion resistance.

Non-Conductive Material. Industrial facilities benefit greatly from the use of nylon padlocks, which feature a lightweight body and a steel or nylon shackle. The nylon padlocks with nylon shackles are plastic, non-conductive and non-sparking, making them great for electrical and indoor applications.

Padlock Shackle Material

Nylon – non-conductive material, suitable for electrical applications such as locking a circuit breaker or safety switch.

Hard Steel– the most common option with extra durability, ideal for use under the most severe conditions.

Aluminum Shackle – lightweight, yet secure and durable, corrosion-resistant, most ideal for use in very humid conditions or outdoor areas.

Cable Shackle – versatile, multi-purpose solution, angle, and twist to fit tight spaces.

Padlock Identification

Below are the 3 most common approaches in identifying lockout padlocks and communicating the status of machine maintenance or electrical panels:

Color-coding. It helps keep equipment organized and provides a simple means of identification for departments and maintenance teams to operate. For example, red locks and keys can be reserved for mechanical maintenance; blue for contractors; yellow for electrical; and orange for operators, all dependent on the number of colors available.

Engraving. It is a simple, more permanent solution to label lockout tagout padlocks, which are ideal for use in heavy industrial contexts. For example, locks and keys may be engraved with an employee's name, team, department, or serial number to make it simpler to identify locks and keys from each other.

Lock labels. These include write-on surfaces, which are very handy for keeping things organized, and they can easily be updated to meet any unexpected change.

Key System for Your Lockout Program

Keyed different padlocks. Each padlock can only be unlocked by a dedicated key and can’t match other padlocks. It’s the ideal lockout solution if an employee commonly applies a single lock.

Keyed alike padlocks.All safety padlocks within a designated group have the same key. It’s commonly used by maintenance personnel in charge of several machines or isolation points.

Keyed alike unlimited padlocks. Similar to keyed alike padlocks, except that companies may have as many same-keyed padlocks in the same color as they like. Best for large industries that need unlimited keyed alike padlocks. Ideal for employees working on multiple machines or equipment at once.

Master keyed padlocks. Has a master key specifically configured to open different padlocks, whether keyed differently or keyed alike—ideal LOTO padlock system solution when dealing with large teams.

Grandmaster keyed padlocks. Has a grand master key that can open all locks grouped into two or more master keyed systems. This option is best for applications with larger teams requiring multiple levels of supervisory access. 

For more detailed information about padlock key systems, check out our infographic.

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Herbert Post

Born in the Philadelphia area and raised in Houston by a family who was predominately employed in heavy manufacturing. Herb took a liking to factory processes and later safety compliance where he has spent the last 13 years facilitating best practices and teaching updated regulations. He is married with two children and a St Bernard named Jose. Herb is a self-described compliance geek. When he isn’t studying safety reports and regulatory interpretations he enjoys racquetball and watching his favorite football team, the Dallas Cowboys.


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