Modern machinery can contain many hazards to workers from electrical, mechanical, pneumatic or hydraulic energy sources. Disconnecting or making the equipment safe to work on involves the removal of all energy sources and is known as isolation.
Lockout-Tagout refers to the safety procedure used in industry and research settings to insure that dangerous machines have been properly shut-down and are incapable of being started up again prior to the completion of maintenance or servicing work. It requires that all hazardous energy sources have been (1) identified (2) isolated and (3) rendered inoperative to prevent the release of potentially hazardous energy prior to the start of any repair or maintenance procedure. This is accomplished through the locking and tagging of all energy sources. Some common forms of energy isolation include electrical circuit breakers, disconnect switches, ball or gate valves, blind flanges, and blocks. Push buttons, e-stops, selector switches and control panels are not considered proper points for energy isolation.
Lockout consists of placing a disconnect switch, breaker, valve, spring, pneumatic assemble, or other energy-isolating mechanism in the off or safe position. A device is placed over, around, or through the energy-isolating mechanism to lock it in the off or safe position, and only the person attaching it applies a removable lock to the apparatus.
Tagout is the process by which an energy-isolating device used for lockout is placed in the off or safe position and a written warning is attached to the device or placed in the area immediately adjacent to the device. The tag must identify the person who applied it and be durable and able to withstand the environment in which it is placed. The tag must be substantial so that it can be attached to a variety of locations and will not come off. A tagout device will be used only when the energy-isolating device is not capable of being locked out. The required means of attachment for a tagout device is a self-locking, non-reusable, nylon cable-type tie that is capable of withstanding a 50-lb. force.
Lockout-Tagout Devices such as key or combination locks are used to hold the energy isolation device in a safe position for the duration of the job. Locks are required to be standardized in color, shape or size. The industry best practice for lockout-tagout is all red locks and devices; however, in some facilities, the use of different colored locks may be beneficial for distinguishing between trades. Furthermore, locks must be substantial enough to prevent removal without the use of excessive force and tags must be substantial enough to prevent inadvertent or accidental removal (generally affixed with an all-weather nylon cable tie). These locks and tags must also clearly identify the employee applying and using the device. Tagout devices, which include a prominent warning tag and means of attachment, are also required to be used in conjunction with lockout devices.
The UC Santa Barbara Energy Isolation - Lockout/Tagout (EI-LOTO) Program requires campus, field station personnel and contractors to implement safe procedures when working on UCSB equipment or utility systems with one or more energy sources. Because of the potential for injury from energy sources that operate equipment / utility systems, this program guides safe installation, set-up, adjustment and maintenance work on equipment by isolating energy sources prior to commencing work. The program is required by Cal/OSHA safety regulations.
This EI-LOTO Program is applied to ALL forms of potentially hazardous energy and is applied to every individual piece of equipment that has potentially hazardous energy. The types of energy needing to be isolated include the potential energy (mechanical springs in tension or compression, compressed gas cylinders, counter weights, etc.), kinetic energy (rotating flywheel, moving parts, rolling components, parked vehicles, etc.) and utility energy (electricity, compressed air, steam, domestic water, etc.) that may be part of a particular machine or utility system. Such equipment may include building mechanical systems such as HVAC and air handlers, some larger experimental equipment that is hard wired or plumbed to building utility systems such as a Scanning Electron Microscope, an air compressor, a printing press, some shop equipment such as a programmable milling machine, CNC equipment, wood-working equipment, powered cranes and other lift equipment, etc. It may even apply to equipment that can be ‘unplugged’ but may have energy potentially stored in the ‘unplugged’ equipment.
This program is applied prior to working on all types of equipment powered by one or more energy sources, or whenever an equipment guard is removed or safety interlock is bypassed, or whenever a person must place any part of their body into potentially-operating equipment.
This program does NOT apply to:
- Minor tool changes, adjustments, and other small service activities that take place during normal operations if they are routine, repetitive, and integral to the use of the equipment. (Example: Changing a drill bit on a drill press.)
- Equipment that is isolated and made safe by simply unplugging an electrical cord, compressed air hose, or some other single-source energy supply when the person working on the equipment has exclusive control over the connection to the energy source.
“Live Work” or “Hot Work” on equipment that cannot be shut down and locked-out / tagged-out is allowed by the program provided that:
- Department management demonstrates that continuity of service is essential, and
- Shutdown of the system is impractical, and
- Special equipment is provided along with specific standard operating procedures that are documented and followed that will provide effective protection for personnel. (Example: Work on certain life-sustaining equipment or utility lines.)
All three of the above criteria must be met before “Hot Work” is permitted by law. If they cannot be met, then EI-LOTO must be practiced. If the above criterion can be demonstrated by management, prior to conducting “Hot Work” contact EH&S Safety Engineering to review safe work procedures in order to assist in developing adequate safeguards and “Hot Work” processes.