Lockout & Tagout: The Dangers of Hazardous Energy

Loto blog image

Whether you are already familiar with lockout & tagout (LOTO) or need an update on the effects of hazardous procedures, the necessary procedure, or the safety products designed to reduce the risk of injury, it’s important to understand exactly what LOTO is and how you can create a program that not only keeps employees and workers safe but helps to avoid OSHA fines. 

In this blog, we’ll cover the basics of LOTO, give you procedural tips on how to avoid equipment-related fatalities, and provide you with the proper safety products from Mars Electric!

What is Hazardous Energy?

Hazardous energy can come in a variety of sources from machines and equipment, including:

  • Electrical
  • Mechanical
  • Hydraulic
  • Pneumatic
  • Chemical
  • Thermal

When unexpected stored energy is released from servicing or machine maintenance, it can lead to everything from accidental injuries to death, which is why it’s so important that hazardous energy be properly controlled. 

A few examples of a release in hazardous energy could be the automatic ejection from a steam valve or the shorting of a piece of internal wiring. Among machine operators and laborers, electricians and craft workers face the most risk for accidental injury.

What is the Lockout Tagout Procedure?

In order to both prevent and properly react to an accidental expulsion of hazardous energy, a lockout tagout (LOTO) program is implemented and serves as a plan of action for employees. 

Here are procedural steps for reacting to a jobsite injury.

  1. Shutdown Preparedness – One of the most important parts of a LOTO procedure is prevention. By training staff and yourself on the hazardous energy sources, their functions, and how to control them, you can work to reduce the risk of serious injury. 
  2. Notify Employees Immediately – Any employee in the affected area should be fully notified of an impending lockout immediately. 
  3. Shut Down Equipment – Immediately after the accident, all equipment should be shut down and done in accordance with the operating manual or specific equipment’s procedure. 
  4. Isolate Energy Sources – Without causing further damage to yourself or another employee, locate the affected energy source and safely isolate it.
  5. Use LOTO Devices to Ensure Safety – LOTO safety devices  such as padlocks, work to prevent further expulsion of hazardous energy. Authorized employees must have their own lockout device with a tag displaying who locked it out. 
  6. Release or Control All Stored Energy – Any equipment with stored energy such as compressed air, electrically charged capacitor, or compressed springs, must be released 
  7. Verify the Lockout – It’s vital that all personnel double check the isolation status of any hazardous energy that has been released. 
  8. Maintain the Lockout – Until service can be restored, equipment must remain in a lockout state to prevent any new issues. 

How to Protect Yourself from Hazardous Energy

Lockout/tagout (LOTO) products are a vital part ensuring the safety of employees and prevention of further damage. They work by keeping equipment powered down during maintenance and repair work. As these are the moments hazardous energy is often released, it’s important to utilize LOTO products every single time. 

At Mars Electric, we offer a multitude of electrical LOTO safety products designed to shut down and control electrical systems, including:

Shop for Lockout Tagout Products at Mars Electric!

Want to learn more about our LOTO resources and products? At Mars, we’re dedicated to providing out customers with training classes that help them complete their projects safely and efficiently, using the latest technology in accordance with the most current regulations.

To attend one of our Safety Best Practice Trainings or to find a specific LOTO product, please contact us today!

Let's Work Together

Please share your contact information and we’ll contact you to discuss your next project.