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Log Out Tag Out (LOTO) standard (part of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) framework) requires the adoption and implementation of practices and procedures to shut down equipment, isolate it from its energy source(s), and prevent the release of potentially hazardous energy (electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other energy) while maintenance and servicing activities are being performed. It aims at the safety of personnel performing service or maintenance on machines or equipments.

 

An application-oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Nethaji on 8th May 2024.

 

Applause for all the respondents - Nethaji, Sachin Tanwar, Hardik Joshi, Sumukha Nagaraja, Tanshul Sharma.

Question

Q 667What is Log Out Tag Out (LOTO)? How does it ensure an incident free workplace? While it is a common procedure to be used in manufacturing industry, how can it be implemented in service sector? Provide examples to support your answer.

 

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LOTO

  • Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) protocols are a critical safety precaution to avoid incident/accident. LOTO decreases the likelihood of mistakes and injuries by locking, labelling, and disconnecting machinery or equipment from power sources. In general, in manufacturing industry, before doing the maintenance of any equipment this procedure. This will ensure that equipment is properly shut off and cannot be restarted. In LOTO, we do shut down of electrical circuits, valves and etc. 
  • Lockout & Tagout are the two steps. Tagout system alerts users that the equipment should not be operated, the lockout system prevents users from running the equipment, physically.  A tagout device is the first line of defense, while the Lockout is second.
  • Here is the LOTO sequence
    • Notify all the employees
    • Know the machine power source
    • Turnoff the machine
    • Deactivate Energy
    • Lockout & Tagout
    • Release stored energy
    • Remove the device from power source
  • Here are the some of the use cases where LOTO system can be implemented in service sector
    • If a hotel is going to renovation/modification for a month, then it should stop accepting the booking (Lockout), show limited rooms availability online website (Tagout and then can start the work. If not, guests will reach hotel and get into trouble, leading to dissatisfaction
    • If you are doing money transaction through a bank website, then Bank will hold money (>10000) for a day (Lockout) and will also notify the user (Tagout). After a day the bank will release the money to avoid any online scam and sending the wrong recipient
    • Blocking of accessing the website(lockout), if the wrong password entered multiple times and it will also send message or mail (Tagout)to user about the unauthorized access. To activate the account, we need to go to bank or use other methods which will notify the bank (similar to LOTO removed after maintenance).
    • If an employee resigns from the company, IT team will block immediately the mail & other access to avoid data leakage, unauthorized transactions (Lockout), Employee will also notify through physical/message by HR (Tag out). Employee cannot access anything during this time. (Similar to no one operate machine once LOTO given). To Access again (during notice period time) employee need to take approval from the reporting manager & HR manager. (similar to LOTO removed after maintenance)
    • To avoid the stock out position of a critical materials, procurement team can block user to withdraw materials from the store once it reaches the ROL(Lockout) and also notify in ERP system about the non-availability (tagout). Once the re ordering done, and the material is in transit, then users can start the withdrawing 
    • To avoid the unnecessary spending by the team, while procuring any item team leads to approve the transaction. In sort approval mechanism (2 or 3 levels) like LOTO. Without this user cannot buy or order any items
    • In Sports, if a player is not following the rules, then he can be suspended (Lockout) for some time and notified to the respective sport board authorities (Tagout). During this time, he cannot play, even if he wants to do it. He can only come back after the suspension removed. (similar to machine can operated after LOTO removed).
  • Some more examples in service sector where LOTO is used. 
    • Elevator maintenance
    • ATM service
    • Photo copier maintenance
    • POS system repair
    • Coffee machine servicing
    • Indoor appliance servicing
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You know when you're fixing something or doing maintenance on a machine, and you don't want it suddenly coming to life and causing a disaster? That's where LOTO comes in handy.

 

Basically, LOTO is like putting a big red stop sign on the power source of the machine. First, you physically lock it up so no one can accidentally switch it on. Then, you hang a tag on it, like a note saying, "Hey, I locked this for certain reason!" This tag tells everyone who did the lockout and why. Before you start working, you double-check to make sure the machine is really off and safe to tinker with. And when you're done, only the right people can take off the lock and tag. Why bother? Well, it's all about keeping accidents at bay. By making sure the machine can't suddenly start up, you're protecting yourself and your coworkers. Plus, it's not just a suggestion—it's a rule.

You have to follow LOTO to keep things running smoothly and to meet safety regulations.

 

Let's break it down with some real-life examples:

 

Imagine you're working at a printing press. Before you clean those ink rollers, you lock out the press to avoid any unexpected ink-Splosion.

 

In a car factory, you'd lock out the conveyor belts or robot arms when greasing up car parts,

you'd make sure that teeming car stays put while you're fixing it.

 

Now, in the service sector, like IT or elevator maintenance, it's just as important. You wouldn't want a server powering up while your elbow-deep in wires, right? So, lock it out. Same goes for elevator controls or HVAC systems—better safe than sorry. But it's not always smooth sailing. Service folks might not be as clued in on LOTO, so training is key. And sometimes, you have to tweak the steps to fit the job.

 

In a nutshell, LOTO is a simple but crucial safety practice for any workplace. Stick to the rules, stay aware, and keep everyone safe.

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Lock Out Tag Out is a technique to protect a person from unwanted danger. Primary purpose of LOTO is to protect an operator or maintenance person when machine is in non-working condition or in routine maintenance condition. Danger is not limited to electrical or chemical but sometime data breach also from equipment having SCADA.
LOTO should be done under strict supervisor. As failing to this may lead to loss of life, high cost of insurance, reputation of a firm, loss of data, etc. 
LOTO is using locking system at source of energy. Key of the lock should be held by authorized person only. Then labelling should be carried out which describe kind of work is ongoing, duration of work, hazardous impact, etc.
LOTO can be very helpful in-service industries also. Like, audit is critical part of any industries and data in audit activity must be protected from unwanted access from external person. One can control access to data via password control mechanism or store data in separate device which has limited control. 
Another example is cyber security trial in banking system. To check protection system at banking transaction or to find out bugs, cyber security person does trials to break the protection. At that time, system should not allow active transaction and shows banner that system is under maintenance.
 

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Log Out Tag Out (LOTO) is a Precautionary/Preventive procedure designed to ensure safety during maintenance or repair work. This procedure ensures that the dangerous machines are properly shut off and not able to be started up again prior to the completion of maintenance or repair work. It involves isolating and locking out the energy sources for industrial equipment to prevent accidental energization or startup during maintenance or servicing.

 

LOTO ensures an incident-free workplace by:

  • Preventing accidental machine start-up.
  • Isolating energy sources (electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, etc.).
  • Protecting workers from energy surges.
  • Complying with regulatory safety requirements.

The key steps in implementing Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO) are as below:

  • Preparation - Understand the equipment by identifying all energy sources and control points for energy isolation.
  • Notification - communicate all related employees about procedures and downtimes.
  • Shutdown - comply to recommended procedures from manufacturer for turning off the equipment
  • Isolation - Keep the equipment away from all its energy sources. 
  • Lockout-Tagout - Add locks and tags to the isolated devices to prevent re-energization.
  • Stored Energy - Ensure the energy is released in proper manner and medium
  • Verification - to ensure equipment is rightly isolated and de-energized
  • Maintenance - Complete the required maintenance and servicing tasks
  • Restoration - post completion of maintenance, restore all energy sources by removing LOTO devices 

While LOTO is commonly associated with the manufacturing industry, it can also be applied in the service sector.

Application of LOTO in services is as below

  • Maintenance of Facilities: For example, in hotels or office buildings, LOTO can be used during the maintenance of elevators, HVAC systems, or electrical installations to ensure safety. 
  • IT and Data Centers: In IT services, LOTO procedures can be applied when servicing servers or data center equipment to prevent data loss or electrical hazards. 
  • Healthcare: In hospitals, LOTO can be used during the maintenance of medical devices or diagnostic equipment to ensure patient and staff safety.  

In each case, the LOTO procedure helps to maintain a safe work environment by ensuring that equipment is safely shut down and cannot be inadvertently re-energized. This is crucial for protecting employees and others from potential harm due to unexpected energization or release of stored energy.

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Imagine you're fixing a broken machine, like a big blender in a smoothie shop. Now, this blender is powered by electricity, and it has sharp blades that spin fast. Before you start fixing it, you need to make sure it won't suddenly turn on and hurt you, right?

That's where Lockout-Tagout (LOTO) comes in. First, you turn off the power to the blender and make sure it can't be turned back on. You might even put a lock on the power switch to be extra safe. Then, you attach a tag to the switch saying something like "Do Not Touch - Being Fixed."

This way, everyone knows the blender is out of order and shouldn't be used until you're done fixing it. It's like putting up a big sign that says "Danger! Don't Touch!" This simple procedure keeps you and your coworkers safe while you work on the machine.

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