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LOTO Tags: Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is meant by LOTO?


LOTO or Lockout/Tagout is an important safety step in protecting workers from hazardous energy stored in equipment that may suddenly be released when workers are servicing the equipment. To prevent this, locks and tags are placed on the energy source. LOTO requires machines to be disconnected from all potential energy sources before employees perform maintenance or repair equipment.

Q. What are the basic steps of a LOTO procedure?


Although the steps involved in a LOTO procedure may depend on how complex the machine or equipment is, the most basic steps of a LOTO procedure are -

  1. 1. Inform all parties going to be affected by the shut off of the equipment
  2. 2. Identify all hazardous energy sources
  3. 3. Disconnect all hazardous energy sources
  4. 4. Lock and tag the hazardous energy sources
  5. 5. Verify that the equipment has been effectively isolated

Q. When should LOTO procedures be used?


The following are some of the more common situations where LOTO is used. 

  • -Conducting repair or maintenance on a machine or piece of equipment
  • -Getting into areas with moving machine parts
  • -Removing a damaged part from the machinery

Q. What are the different types of Lockout Devices?


These are the different types of lockout devices:

  1. 1. Electrical lockout devices: These devices switch off the electrical power. Examples - circuit breaker lockout devices and an electrical plug lockout device.

  2. 2. Multi-purpose cable lockout devices: These devices are used when a padlock or other fixed device does not offer the required flexibility for proper lockout. For example - a single cable lockout device for several energy sources.

  3. 3. Valve lockout devices: A valve lockout device will stop the valve’s operation. Example - gate valves, ball valves, plug valves, and butterfly valves.

Q. Can LOTO Tags be used without locks?


Lockout tags are commonly used with locks (padlocks, pin locks, etc.). However, in some situations (when an energy-isolating device is incapable of being locked out.), tags can be used without a lock too. OSHA 1910.147 (a)(3)(c)(3) states that “Tags are sufficient when the employer can “demonstrate that the tagout program will provide a level of safety equivalent to that obtained by using a lockout program.” This approach works only when the company’s lockout/tagout training program is established and effective.

If the tag is used without a lock, the tag must:

  • - Withstand the environment to which it is exposed
  • - Be standardized and distinguishable from other tags
  • - Include clear warnings and instructions
  • - Be attached with a non-reusable, self-locking device that has an unlocking strength of no less than 50 pounds

  • Industry preferred lockout tagout tags are available at our store with a variety of safety messages. You can also print your own loto tags on our laser printable loto sheets, for the professional yet personalized touch.

Q. Does OSHA require Lockout/Tagout?


Yes. Under its standard - 29 CFR 1910.147 , OSHA requires that all energy sources be turned off and either locked out or tagged out while service or maintenance work is being performed. The standard also includes the employer’s responsibilities in protecting their employees from hazardous energy and properly training employees regarding a lockout tagout procedure.

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