Posted on: January 13, 2024

LOTO: A Guide to Lockout Tagout

LOTO: A Guide to Lockout Tagout

Accidents can happen in any workplace, especially construction sites. That’s why there are rules in place to prevent accidents and hopefully avoid injuries. One of the ways to protect yourself and others from serious harm when operating heavy machinery is through lockout/tagout training. In this article, we will discuss lockout/tagout procedures, devices, and how the benefits of the program just might save your life.

What Is Lockout/Tagout?

LOTO is a safety practice used to make sure that dangerous machinery is safely shut off and cannot be restarted. If you're wondering, "What does LOTO stand for," it's simply an acronym for Lockout/Tagout. If not properly regulated, sudden equipment or mechanical startups could cause danger or even death to workers. According to OSHA, following proper Lockout/Tagout procedures prevents an estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries yearly. 

What OSHA Requires for Lockout/Tagout

The Occupational Safety and Health Act issued the lockout/tagout standard in 1989. Since then, the lockout/tagout procedures have been essential in ensuring worker safety. These standards are applicable to a variety of industries, including manufacturing, construction, and healthcare, and they cover a variety of equipment, including power presses, conveyors, and robotic equipment. According to the rule, employers must:

  • Create and implement energy-control procedures
  • Train employees on the procedures
  • Use locks, tags, and other methods to physically prevent the release of harmful energy
  • Inspect and keep the energy control procedures in good working order.
  • Prepare processes for unexpected startup
  • Provide staff with training on job-related dangers.
  • Establish protocols for inspecting, maintaining, and testing equipment.
  • Keep a record of all lockout/tagout-related actions.

Lockout/tagout procedures save lives by avoiding fatalities and injuries, reduce expenses by decreasing lost employee time and insurance, and boost output by decreasing equipment downtime. OSHA provides guidance and materials on lockout tagout laws and workplace safety.

Knowing the Difference Between Lockout and Tagout

Despite using different kinds of technology, lockout and tagout complement each other. Lockout devices stop workers from operating the equipment physically, while the tagout device warns them that it should not be used.


A lockout device is essentially the second line of security against damaging equipment usage, whereas a tagout device is the first. Lockout devices are things like padlocks, blank flanges, and fastened slip shutters.

Before being tagged out, machinery should be locked out to prevent dangerous equipment usage. There should only be one key for a LOTO padlock. Lockout locks shouldn't be keyed alike, which allows several padlocks to be unlocked with a single key.

Lockout equipment is secured with a lock that prevents energy discharge, preventing direct power or activation. It is used to prevent untrained workers from using harmful equipment, allowing trained personnel to use it when it's safe. Lockout is also used to prevent unexpected activation during repair and maintenance activities, and it's crucial to shut out broken or dysfunctional equipment.


Tagout refers to cautionary labels that urge people not to turn on switches or operate equipment in any other way. An item of equipment is "tagged out" when a conspicuous tag is fastened to a switch to alert people not to turn it on. Details on a tag often include:

  • “DANGER” or “WARNING” lockout tag
  • Instructions such as “Do Not Operate”
  • Purpose, for example, “Equipment Maintenance”
  • Timing
  • Name or photo of the authorized worker

Tagout should never be used in place of lockout unless doing so would be impossible.

The Benefits of Lockout/Tagout

One of the greatest industrial risks occurs during maintenance or repair work when hazardous energy is discharged. If lockout/tagout procedures are not followed, workers run the risk of suffering serious injuries or even dying.

It is important to note that the term "hazardous energy" can apply to a variety of things, such as the build-up of pressure, electric current, or hazardous gas.

Lockout/tagout keeps personnel safe, here are a few examples:

  • Turning off a pneumatic press completely before a maintenance worker works on it
  • Stopping a blocked conveyor system while the jam is being cleared
  • Turning off the automation on a steam valve while employees are nearby
  • Turning off the power to the damaged wire as an electrician works to repair it

Lockout/tagout protocols are an important safety measure to prevent such accidents. Lockout/tagout reduces the possibility of errors and injuries by identifying, locking, and unplugging machinery or equipment.

Naturally, employers strive to avoid workplace fatalities and injuries. Regular review of lockout/tagout procedures with staff can significantly reduce workplace fatalities and injuries, thereby reducing accidents.

In addition to being required by OSHA regulations, failure to comply could incur some rather hefty fines. This particular regulation is among the top 10 most frequently violated, according to OSHA. It also lengthens the equipment's useful life and reduces the need for costly maintenance or replacement.

Get Started on Lockout/Tagout Training Today

Lockout/tagout procedures are crucial for the security and health of employees. Employers can avoid major injuries and even death by starting a lockout/tagout program. Workers are kept safe, and accidents are avoided by providing proper training and equipment, performing frequent equipment inspections, updating lockout/tagout rules, and consistently enforcing lockout/tagout standards. Implementing lockout/tagout procedures could make all the difference.

Does your workplace require Lockout/Tagout Safety Training? Head over to to get enrolled today!