The lockout procedure plays an important role in industrial safety. The whole process needs several pieces of equipment to successfully conduct a full operation. Like the procedure, the equipment needs to stand-out. This means that if the procedure gets 100% attention then equal attention shall be diverted to the devices used during the procedure. Since, this involves safety; ‘Quality’ has to rule the judgment.
OSHA’s guidelines shall be looked before buying any new lockout devices. OSHA implicates fines and citations on those not following the guidelines. There is no wonder that Lockout Station incidents could harm/injure workers, halt production, spoil equipment and in worst case scenarios, ‘shut your businesses’.
Buying devices could be expensive and complicated but only if there is no plan. Make a list of the devices you have and the devices you want to buy. This would give you the clear-cut knowledge of the items you want.
There are many things you could verify before buying and selecting LOTO devices like padlocks, circuit breakers, valves, tags, etc. Following some basic guides you could:
Ensure the devices are used with full potential
Maintain efficiency of lockout devices
Save money, energy and time
OSHA guideline no. 1910.147 dictates that all devices shall be standardized (same shape, color or size). Industry experts maintain that only red locks and devices shall be used if not blue.
The first and foremost thing you need to consider before buying is to consider the use of multiple-application devices. It means you shall look for devices that could be used with more than one type of switch, valve or breaker.
Some other basic things for you to look for before buying lockout devices:
Space Saving Capability
The main idea here is to find designs that would easily house space limitations that issue a problem to many workers. They should also save toolbox space.
The devices shall be durable enough with appropriate strength. They should have abilities to survive harsh workplace conditions. These include high temperatures, reaction with chemicals that could possibly deteriorate the components.
If the devices are easy to use, they will get used. Equipments that have fitting issues frustrate workers and disrupt the procedure pledging drastic results. User-friendly devices are the key to an effective lockout.
The tags and prints shall be standard according to shape, size and color. It should give clear instructions to workers such as: “Do not start,” “Do Not Close”, “Do Not Operate” etc.
The devices shall resist premature removal. Only heavy force like bolt cutters, metal-cutting tools shall disconnect the device. Accidental removal is not an option here.
Especially, tags and attachments shall be non-reusable, non-releasable and self-locking. Their minimum unlocking strength shall be 50 pounds. All workers shall attach the tags with hand using a one-piece nylon cable tie.
Apart from this, the user must make sure device-based assessments. This includes finding efficient solutions for the different varieties. Don’t use 10 devices when 2 would suffice. At the end of the day, it is you and your business. If you ensure proper ‘safety work conditions’, the workers would be more than willing to work.