Forklift Lockout Tagout Procedures
Lockout tagout (LOTO) is a lock and tag safety procedure used in industrial and R&D settings. Its purpose is to ensure forklifts and other dangerous pieces of equipment are shut down and can’t be restarted until they’re once again safe to operate.
In simple terms, lockout involves placing a lockable device such as key or combination padlock on a piece of equipment to make it temporarily inoperable. Tagout is a clearly worded and highly visible warning sign that’s attached to a forklift or other dangerous piece of machinery. Tagouts are used to advise workers that the equipment is either undergoing or is about to undergo maintenance or repair and can’t be operated until the work has been completed. In some situations, OSHA will allow tagouts to be used in place of lockouts, but only when there’s no place on the equipment to attach a lockout device and the employer can demonstrate that a tag will provide the required level of worker protection.
Forklift lockout tagout procedures and practices were originally put into use to protect forklift operators and other workers from being injured by machinery or equipment that could unexpectedly start through what is known as hazardous energy. This can happen while equipment is being repaired, during power outages, when the equipment is out of service for routine maintenance and other times when operating the equipment would be unsafe. Hazardous energy includes electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical and thermal energy sources.
OSHA and Forklift Lockout Tagouts
Lock out tag outs are required by OSHA to protect forklift operators and their coworkers, and are often the last line of defense against avoidable workplace accidents and injuries. OSHA’s standard for controlling hazardous energy through LOTO procedures is covered by Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1910.147, which addresses the procedures for disabling forklifts and other equipment to prevent them from being started when they’re down for maintenance or other reasons. OSHA estimates that lockout tagout procedures prevent 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. For more information on hazardous energy and LOTO devices, see the OSHA lookout tagout Fact Sheet.
Forklift Tagout/Lockout Procedures
Here are the basic steps for implementing a forklift lockout tagout:
– Provide advance training to familiarize all employees with proper LOTO procedures
– Establish and enforce a policy that only the employee who installed the LOTO device can remove it once the equipment is no longer considered to be a threat
– Identify and isolate the equipment that’s to be lockedout taggedout
– Install a locking device approved for the particular piece of equipment to ensure the equipment can’t be powered on, along with a clearly worded warning tag
– Keep employees a safe distance away from the LOTOed piece of equipment at all times it’s under lockout tagout.
– Look for and remove as necessary any flammable materials or other potential hazards in lockout tagout area
– Once it’s safe to resume operating the equipment, remove the LOTO devices and advise employees that the threat is over
For more information on forklift lock tagout procedures, see OSHA’s Lockout Tagout Tutorial.
Forklift Online Lockout Tagout Training
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