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Lock-out systems and procedures: Use these six guidelines to establish or update your existing system

by , 27 January 2014
It's essential that you develop a procedure to ensure switches and valves are correctly locked-out when maintenance or set-up is being done. This'll help ensure work is done safely on machinery. How do you do this? Use these six guidelines to establish or update your existing system.

According to the Health & Safety Advisor, 'the unexpected operation or activation of machinery or equipment can cause serious injury to people working on the machinery. Even those in the vicinity can be harmed.'

That's why it's important that you develop lock-out systems and procedures.

Your procedure must cover the positive locking of switches and valves to ensure that maintenance, set-up or other work is done safely.

So how do you establish your system?

Follow these six guidelines to establish or update your existing lock-out systems and procedures

#1: Design the relevant documentation to outline procedures and standards. The procedure must explain how and when the lock-out must happen. Develop a register that must be signed as evidence that it was done.

#2: Label all isolators, switches, valves and controls legibly. The label must indicate what piece of equipment the switch or isolator controls. This'll prevent a person from locking out the wrong piece of machinery and they end up working on a piece of equipment that's still live.

#3: Fit suitable devices to these isolators, switches, valves and controls to ensure they can be locked in the OFF or CLOSED position.

#4: Train relevant people on how to use the system. This must include anyone who does maintenance and repairs on machines and would be required to effect the lock-out.

#5: Enforce application of the system throughout your company.

#6: Establish a formal control over locks and keys. Use the lock-out register to ensure employees sign for locks and keys.

Well there you have it. Make use of these guidelines when you're establishing or updating your existing lock-out systems and procedures.

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