6 Steps for LOTO Procedure

May 07, 2020

For equipment or machines with stored energy, LOTO procedures are mandatory along with how to release the equipment from the lockout/tagout. These procedures can help safeguard employees from hazardous energy release.  

Below is a brief outline of the steps for a proper LOTO procedure, shutting the machine/equipment down for maintenance and then releasing LOTO once maintenance is completed. Implementing these procedures can help prevent accidents during repair or maintenance.

  1. Prepare for Shutdown. Plan the procedure before putting it into operation. Identify which employees will be involved and determine the switches and equipment involved.  Train the authorized employees on the following:
    1. type and magnitude of the energy related to the equipment
    2. hazards associated with the energy present
    3. method or means to control the energy

During this step, carefully plan how restart will occur (more to follow below).

  1. Shutdown Equipment.  Before shutting down the equipment, notify all who need to know that the LOTO procedure will begin. Follow only the manufacturer’s or employer’s established procedures to turn off the equipment or machinery.
  2. Isolate the equipment. Locate all power sources of energy near and far and turn them off. These include: electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical, chemical and thermal.  Once all power sources are identified, neutralize appropriate power at the source (i.e., disconnect electricity). Block movable parts. Release or block spring energy. Drain or bleed hydraulic and pneumatic lines. Lower suspended parts to rest positions.

Any of these can cause serious injury or death when not properly locked out.

  1. Apply LOTO devices. Use a lock designed only for this purpose. Each worker should have a personal lock. Begin to physically lockout all identified power sources. Tag machine controls, pressure lines, starter switches and suspended parts. Tags should include name, department, contact information, date and time of tagging and reason for the lockout.

Remember, pulling a fuse or flipping a circuit breaker is no substitute for locking out.

  1. Control stored energy. Ensure that all stored energy has been eliminated from the system. The following actions may be taken:
    1. visually check that all moving parts have stopped
    2. relieve trapped pressure
    3. blank pipe flange
    4. install ground wires to discharge electrical capacitors
    5. block or support elevated equipment
  2. Verify isolation of all equipment. Take the following measures to verify equipment is no longer functional:
    1. press all operating controls to ensure there is no power
    2. return power switches to the “OFF” position
    3. inform everyone in the area before working on equipment
    4. periodically re-check that power is off while performing maintenance or repair

Following the completion of repairs or maintenance, the restart procedures may begin. Before removing any LOTO devices or restoring energy to machines, procedures to ensure the following must be in place:

  1. Check the machine or equipment. Inspect the area to ensure that nonessential items have been removed and the machinery is operationally intact with all guards in place.
  2. Ensure all employees have been safely positioned or removed.
  3. Remove the LOTO. Only the person who applied the LOTO device may remove it.

Following these LOTO procedures reduces the chance of injury or death and ensures that all employees are properly trained to understand and respect the equipment or machinery.   Remember, employees are only as safe as the training provided.

Visit our Online Safety Library for additional information on LOTO and click here for a Lockout Tagout Safety Brief.