‘Lockout/tagout’ refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected energisation or start-up of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities. This requires, in part, that a designated individual turns off and disconnects the machinery or equipment from its energy source(s) before performing service or maintenance, and that the authorised employee(s) should either lock or tag the energy-isolating device(s) to prevent the release of hazardous energy and take steps to verify that the energy has been isolated effectively. If the potential exists for the release of hazardous stored energy or for the re-accumulation of stored energy to a hazardous level, the employer must ensure that the employee(s) takes steps to prevent injury that may result from the release of the stored energy.
Lockout devices hold energy-isolation devices in a safe or ‘off’ position. They provide protection by preventing machines or equipment from becoming energised because they are positive restraints that cannot be removed without an unlocking mechanism.
Tagout devices, by contrast, are prominent warning devices that an authorised employee fastens to energy-isolating devices to warn employees not to re-energise the machine while it is being serviced. Tagout devices are easier to remove and, by themselves, provide employees with less protection than lockout devices.
In electrical power systems, it is critical that a test-for-dead is carried out before work can be undertaken on exposed electrical conductors. In the case of electrical energy, both the unexpected operation of the electrical dive system and the potential for contact with dangerous electrical energy present a risk to health. Even with the best working practices and with the most experienced engineers, mistakes can happen. Routine testing of de-energised circuits ensure the safety of personnel. Testing can be conducted quickly by using the leading test and measurement products offered by Fluke.