Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) Devices

Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) Devices

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Hi, I'm Jill, Chief Safety Officer with Vivid Learning Systems. I'm a former OSHA inspector and I'm here to help you identify and correct workplace safety hazards.

For this series we're at Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative in the heart of the upper Midwest to show you no matter where you work, safety training is for everyone.

There are so many great devices on the market to effectively lock out power sources for individuals and groups yet it's important to know how to apply them properly and how to test them. Today I'm with Adam who is safety manager here at the Beet Sugar Cooperative, and Adam we're standing in front of a practice trailer. Tell us what this practice trailer is used for.

So through a lot of different things our team members are really asking for hands on approaches to be able to go ahead and learn about some of the life saving programs and what better way to do that then hands on. So we incorporated it with the confined space trailers since confined space and lockout tagout kind of go hand in hand. With that let's put together some lockout tagout practice units on here for them to practice through.

And so when you're doing a practice you show them all the different lockout devices that they could use?

Correct, yup.

Let's walk through some of those and maybe starting with what this is.

So this right here, this is one of our most important tools right here. This is actually our procedure that we go off of and a lot of the stuff with our procedures, it spells it out exactly where the device actually is, what we need to do to be able to lock it out and the location specifically in the factory that it's at. It goes through the process of how to be able to actually apply the locks through the entire communication process and then once we're done with the process, making sure that, okay, let's go ahead and get everything cleaned up, and what's the proper communication about putting this device back in service.

To energize it. So this would be example of the step by step lockout procedure that's in writing that's actually required by the OSHA regulations.

Correct.

And in this one I see you have pictures included so people can say, "Oh, I'm at the right place. This is where I put my lock. This is where I put my tag."

Yes.

Yeah. And so talk to us about what some of these devices are used for. Maybe like what is this one used for?

So this one right here, this one's mainly used for a ball valve lockout. So it would be something very similar to this. Once it is locked out, we always tell our team members to make sure that whenever they go ahead and shut a valve to make sure that they shut it slowly just in case if there's pressure behind it. And then they'll use this ball valve lock to put on, similar to this and they would put their lock and tag right through here to be able to de-energize this.

And there's multiple holes here. So if you have more than one person working on a job, everyone whose life is on the line has the ability to put their lock on.

Absolutely. Yes.

Right. Okay. And then what about this lockbox?

So this lockbox, what we use this lockbox here for is each team member is given one personal lock for lockout tagout here at our facility. If we get a multi point lockout area, we always go to a group lockout to be able to grab other additional locks to go out to that area and lock those areas out.

And so that's what this box is used for.

Yes. Yep.

Yeah. And then explain what this device is.

This device right here is if, let's say we have a power cord to a device that might be in a certain location outside of the area and they might not have direct control of that area.

So they can't see it from where they're working.

Exactly. What they can do is they can put the plug in here, close it and put their lock right there. Then that way that device such as maybe a drill press or something like that is fully locked out and de-energized to protect them.

No one can come along and energize it.

Yes, correct. Correct.

When they're not looking, right. Tell us about the cable.

So the cable, we have several different areas that we use the cable. One of those is an opportunity, let's say that we're running low a little bit on some of the locks, maybe in our group lockbox. What we can do is run this through multiple different areas and just use the one lock and ensure that all of those areas are locked out. We also do use those out on several different one of our valves too.

Okay. On the valves as well. And so when you're practicing with something like this and when you're doing training, do you try to activate it to see if they actually applied it correctly?

We do. We always make sure that they go through that entire process. We make sure that they attached it appropriately and not only attach it appropriately, but did it in the correct manner, step by step, following through the procedure.

Following the procedures.

Yup. And the most critical piece when we're checking through a lot of this stuff is has they verified everything that it has been absolutely de-energized.

Yeah.

A lot of people miss that.

Yeah. Verification might be trying to see if they can activate a valve or calling back to a control room and asking a control room to activate an energy source.

Correct.

And seeing if it's working.

Yup.

Okay. And then what about some of these other devices that you have here?

So the other devices that we have, I'll go to a butterfly valve cover. All that it is, is once they get to the butterfly valve cover, the shaft goes through here. All they do is they put it around there and then put their lock and tag-

Apply their lock.

... right in there. That way, that only thing that turns is this, not the butterfly valve.

Very good. Very good. And explain the tags and the padlocks.

So what we have is with the tags and the padlocks, these are the ones that come out of the group lockbox, but we always want to make sure that the person is identified or the group is identified that is actually working on the device for their protection. So if there does get to be a concern about something, we can go to that person from that group or that person directly and say, "Hey, what questions do we have about this? Can you answer them?" For their protection as well as for the affected team members as well.

Right. Very good. So tell us about the energy sources that you have featured here.

So the energy sources that we have featured here, these are actually some of the more common energy sources that we have around our facility. We have the electrical box that is going to go and power a pump or some other device. So we always make sure that we have this a part of our training to go through that they understand that when they're going to go ahead and de-energized this, that they stand away-

Away from it.

... because of the arc blast or arc flash type situation, for them to be able to shut that off. They go through the process of how do they go through and do the valves, what do they need to put on the valves to properly make sure that those are locked out. And again, that piece of instead of just slamming a valve closed, doing it nice and slow-

Slow.

... because of the pressure aspect. And once all the valves there are fully closed, there might be something that they need to bleed out just to be able to minimize that type of energy source too.

Yep. Drain the line. Yeah. And then what about a push button?

A push button right here. This is the one thing that we always tell people that to be able to do a controlled shutdown so they don't slug the entire system, make sure you shut it down properly. So when you mentioned about the control room team members, it might be a situation that they need to shut it down there or if they have a push button or HOA in the area, that they need to shut it down properly that aspect. And then we really reiterate that piece about verifying, use this to verify if you have that in the area.

And then on the backside of the trailer you also have additional power sources. What sort of power sources are you featuring there so they can test them as well?

So the other type of devices that we have out there, we actually have a ball valve and a butterfly valve that are basically within conjunction of each other just so they understand how to be able to lock those pieces out. Then we have a blank that we use as well to ensure that team members, if there gets to be something that has high pressure or because of different type of pipe work that we may be doing, making sure that they go through and use that blank in that piece too.

And so one of the pieces that sometimes gets missed in lockout tagout training and practice is that really important key of what do we do when we reenergize. And so do you practice that on this trailer as well?

Yes, we go through our procedure and we make sure that they follow that procedure because it does a great job of the communication piece. They ensure, first of all actually, that they have a lot of the stuff already cleaned up because housekeeping can also play a role in that. Keeping everything cleaned up and then communicating the process of how they're going to be taking devices off, making sure the affected team members are away for their protection, and then when they are going to go ahead and start something up that everybody is aware that it's going to start up too.

Yeah. Right. And so communication is key in the case as well as-

Communication, communication, communication.

Yeah. As well as understanding what all the devices are, how many you need, who your team members are who are going to be working on something, and then how you bring it all back up to speed again.

Absolutely.

Thank you so much for sharing this with us today.

You're welcome.

Appreciate it. And hopefully you have some great tips today on the importance of practice and particularly practicing, and verifying, and re-energizing your lockout tagout procedures.

I hope you gained a safety training skill today. If you know someone who needs this, go ahead and pass it on. Safety is everyone's business.

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