When I visit machine shops or manufacturers, I often ask many questions related to the lockout/tagout program. I usually hear, “Uh huh, yep, we have one of those,” but see no evidence of the employees’ using their lockout/tagout devices. Sometimes, I’ll even hear, “Lockout what?”
Lockout/tagout is a safety procedure used to ensure that employees are protected from the unexpected power or start up of machinery and equipment during service or maintenance work. Lockout/tagout devices must be used before servicing or maintaining machinery or equipment, when hazardous energy exists, or if an unexpected start-up could occur. The lockout not only prevents machinery from being turned, it prevents machinery and equipment parts from moving. The tagout provides a warning. Many kinds of equipment require a lockout/tagout device, including presses, power saws, conveyors, pumps, production equipment, and trash compactors.