Lockout Tagout Devices Tutorial: An In-Depth Guide

lockout tagout devices in depth guide

Lockout tagout devices serve as physical barriers and visual signals for people operating or servicing a certain piece of machinery or equipment. When applied correctly, they remove the possibility of accidental start-ups, making them essential components to a successful energy control program.

Uses and Applications

  • Manually-operated electrical circuit breakers
  • Line valves
  • Switches
  • Blocks
  • Other devices used to isolate/block energy flow

Despite many uses, one important thing to note about the application of LOTO devices is that the locking mechanism must be placed on the supply cord with an accompanying tag that indicates the energy source as well as the person operating the said equipment at any given time.

OSHA Standard

Lockout tagout systems are an integral part of regulation compliance to OSHA standards for The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout). OSHA Standard 1910.147 outlines the minimum requirements for controlling hazardous energy sources to maintain workplace safety.

Requirements for LOTO Devices

  • Durable
  • Standardized
  • Substantial
  • Identifiable
  • Exclusive for Safety

There are different LOTO tools that you can utilize, depending on the machinery you operate, the number of workers, and the energy sources you need to isolate. Learning about the different types of lockout tagout devices will help you decide which items are appropriate for your facility.

Types of Lockout Tagout Devices


tradesafe loto padlock attached on circuit breaker lock

Lockout padlocks are commonly placed on plugs or other parts of the electrical system. The main function is to ensure that the electrical system cannot be operated while the safety LOTO padlock is in place. Lockout padlocks come in different sizes and types so as to fit your needs.

All padlocks must have a label indicating “LOCKED OUT” or “DANGER” to notify any individual of their presence. These labels may come with spaces used to indicate the person responsible for affixing the LOTO padlock.


tradesafe loto hasp with lockout lock and tag

A hasp is useful for group lockouts since it allows each person individual access with their respective personal locks. It is a lockout device exclusively used with a single machine with multiple people that utilize it. This can accommodate up to six lockout padlocks that can be equipped on every energy disconnect.

The authorized personnel can unlock the machine to operate it, and then lock it afterward. After tagging, they can walk away until the next person comes in to use the machine themselves. This system is highly useful since it keeps everyone accountable for their usage of the equipment.

Clamp-on Breakers

tradesafe clamp-on circuit breaker lockout

Clamp-on breaker lockouts remain to be a staple among workplaces because of their versatility and simplicity. These are very easy to install since it comes with a thumbwheel design. There is no need for screwdrivers or other tools to affix these breaker lockouts.

Clamp-on breakers work with a wide variety of internal-trip multi-pole to single-pole breakers. These come with a detachable cleat that you can simply adjust to fit different sizes of breakers. These are highly effective in securing hazardous power so that maintenance and repair may ensue without the risk of re-energizing. These breakers usually come in the color red so that they will pop up in stark contrast to the equipment.

Adjustable Cable Lockouts

tradesafe adjustable cable lockout

Adjustable cable lockouts are used for machinery with multiple point lockouts that are situated close to each other. The cable is made of multi-stranded steel and is insulated with UV-protected PVC plastic coating. It also has a thermoplastic, non-conductive, high-impact, and lightweight body that is capable of withstanding chemicals, fluctuating temperatures, and other extreme conditions.

Adjustable cable lockouts, as the name implies, can be adjusted to whichever length you need for your equipment. Adjustable cable lockouts offer flexibility since a single device can cater to a wide array of machinery. The length and adjustability make these perfect for hard-to-reach areas. These are also fairly easy to install. Simply loop the cable through the lockout points and back through the body of the adjustable cable device. Tighten as needed to properly secure it in place.

Group Lockout Box

tradesafe group loto box

A group lockout box protects the group by putting every worker out of harm’s way before the machine is re-energized by the supervisor. The main keys are placed in the box with numerous holes to accommodate the personal padlocks of each involved employee.

The supervisor’s lock seals the keys shut, alongside other unique padlocks that each correspond to a single employee. As soon as an employee is done with their maintenance or routine, they can unlock the padlock with their personal key. After everyone has unlocked their respective padlocks, the supervisor can now open the box to obtain the main keys.

Valve Lockouts

tradesafe gate valve lockout with loto tag

Workers may be exposed to leaks of various dangerous chemicals. As such, valve lockouts come in handy since they ensure that the machinery being operated truly stays turned off during maintenance. Valve lockouts are sturdy lockout devices that can be attached to the valve and secured with hasps or locks.

There are different types of valve lockout devices for different valves. These include pressurized gas, wedge-style, seal tight ball, rotating gate, and adjustable ball valve lockouts.

Plug Lockouts

power plug inside tradesafe plug lockout

Electrical plug lockouts are cylindrically-shaped lockout devices that wrap around a plug and can only be accessed with a key. Plug lockout devices are available in different sizes or you may purchase an adjustable version that adjusts to fit your valve. These do not interfere with the function of the plug as they merely serve as a protective shell around it.

Plug lockout devices are made of non-conductive and impact-resistant polypropylene to keep up with the intense conditions of an industrial workplace. This has three parts: base, valve cover, and belt clamp.


There are more lockout tagout devices that come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. Some companies even order custom-built devices to ensure the perfect fit for their needs and situations. The most important thing is to get the appropriate lockout tagout device that can prevent power flow so the equipment stays de-energized throughout the maintenance and repair processes.

The material provided in this article is for general information purposes only. It is not intended to replace professional/legal advice or substitute government regulations, industry standards, or other requirements specific to any business/activity. While we made sure to provide accurate and reliable information, we make no representation that the details or sources are up-to-date, complete or remain available. Readers should consult with an industrial safety expert, qualified professional, or attorney for any specific concerns and questions.


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Author: 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.