Lockout tagout electrical is an important component of your safety practices for keeping your workplace safe and OSHA-compliant. It serves to protect workers from uncontrolled hazardous energy that may escape from machinery or equipment during isolation, servicing, or maintenance. As a result, it is critical that workers have access to correct lockout tagout supplies, as well as proper LOTO training, in their work areas.
At TRADESAFE, safety is never compromised but maximized. Our collection includes a wide range of lockout tagout safety information and solutions available to fit plug & sockets, valves, panels, breakers, and more. Each lockout tagout device is easy to use and made of high-quality materials that can resist the harsh and hazardous environments common in industrial facilities.
TRADESAFE only offers premium, precision-engineered lockout tagout tools to help you meet OSHA 1910.147 (Control of Hazardous Energy) standards in your workplace while also instilling responsibility and accountability among your workers. Get a reliable safety partner with TRADESAFE.
Electrical lockout tagout is the process of locking and tagging sources of hazardous energy. These energy sources supply power to a variety of machines that need routine maintenance and servicing. To protect maintenance and repair workers from accidents and injuries, hazardous energy sources need to be shut down.
The use of energy isolation devices or lockout tagout devices physically restrains electrical power sources from accidental or unintended re-energizing. These devices include circuit breaker locks, plug locks, and cable locks. They are secured with personal safety locks and subsequently outfitted with tags that include important information about the lockout tagout procedure in place.
One lockout tagout method used in electrical work is locking out the circuit breakers. TRADESAFE provides a variety of circuit breaker lockout devices, with each variation designed for circuit breakers of different sizes.
It’s also possible to use plug locks to prevent machines from getting plugged in. Typically, plug locks are best used if employees need to de-energize some machines instead of an entire area in the facility. Plug locks are also secure and can lockout up to two plugs at a time.
Electrocution is one of the most prevalent causes of death in the workplace, and it may only be avoided with proper electrical safety. Electrocutions can also result in serious injuries, which can lead to disability. As a result, because these accidents are so prevalent, it's critical to ensure that personnel is as protected as possible against electrocution injuries.
OSHA guidelines help make sure that your facility is a safe place to work. Your workplace’s electrical safety programs should be compliant with OSHA safety guidelines. OSHA has even published a list of electrical safety guidelines that can help various facilities ensure that they’re reducing as many risks as possible.
Here are some of the OSHA guidelines that can help save a life:
OSHA standard 1910.47, or the control of hazardous energy, also includes protocols and regulations concerning electric energy. These protocols and regulations involve the lockout and tagout of all sources of hazardous energy, including electricity.
A lockout tagout program is highly effective in improving electrical safety in the workplace. It ensures that there is a secure and physical restraint on an electrical power source. This way, a locked-out machine or piece of equipment cannot be plugged back in. This greatly reduces the chances of someone accidentally or unintentionally starting the machine back up.
Only the individual or team that locked out the machine will be able to remove the locks and restraints. This ensures that no unauthorized or uninvolved personnel will remove the locks before the machine can be safely re-energized.
An electrical LOTO program also includes the use of tags that display information like who installed the locks, why the locks were installed, when, and more. These tags can serve as a visual warning that tells other employees not to tamper with or attempt to remove the locks.
Additionally, LOTO programs are often designed to be simple and easy to learn and follow. Employees will not have to learn long and complicated procedures that will leave a lot of room for error. This simplicity greatly contributes to the effectiveness of LOTO programs.
While electricity can be dangerous, we have harnessed it well enough that we can use it safely by reducing the risks of harm and accidents. Even so, it’s still important to be mindful of the common hazards that come with working with electricity. These hazards include:
The accidental re-energizing of a machine that’s under repair or maintenance can cause electric shock.
Water is known to conduct electricity very well. Because of this, water can cause shock or electrocution.
Touching or bumping into overhead electrical wires can also cause electrocution. It’s also important to make sure that if you are holding or touching a ladder or any other object, it won’t touch the wires either.
Faulty, frayed, or improper wiring
Faulty wiring can cause shock, electrocution, arc flashes, and more. Damaged wires can be harmful as well and will need to be repaired or replaced.
An arc flash is produced by electric discharge traveling through the air between two conductors. It can produce a very bright light and high heat, and it can also cause injury to anyone nearby.
A proper lockout tagout procedure, proper application of LOTO devices, and effective visual communication can help employees avoid these hazards in the workplace.
Visual communication is an effective and proven way to improve electrical safety. Things like warning signs, warning labels, written instructions, and the like can help prevent people from making dangerous mistakes.
In lockout tagout procedures, visual communication is quite important. For example, all devices come in bright and highly noticeable colors, most often red. Other colors include yellow, blue, green, orange, and purple. These colors are meant to be eye-catching and hard to miss.
Lockout tagout tags also present a good way to visually communicate with others. These tags often come in white and bright red or green, with big and bold font. The words “Warning” or “Danger” are also prominently displayed and easily readable even from several steps away. LOTO tags are meant to effectively communicate to others that a lockout tagout procedure is taking place.
However, it’s important to understand and remember that visual warnings are not enough to safely deter others from re-energizing a machine that’s still under maintenance. Warning signs and labels will not physically stop people from unknowingly or accidentally plugging in a machine, turning a valve, or flipping switches to their “on” position.
Thus, locks are still the more important part of lockout tagout procedures. Visual communication is vital as well, but physical locks are more effective at ensuring that employees are kept safe.
General guidelines for electrical safety in accordance with the OSHA standards include:
The individual applying the lockout tagout procedure must wear the same level of personal protective equipment (PPE) as the person doing the operation or service on the system.