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Writing a lock-out procedure for your company? Here's what to include

by , 08 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 will help ensure work is performed safely on machinery. Read on to find out what to include when developing a lock-out procedure for your company.


'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,' warns the Health & Safety Advisor.

That's why you must develop a programme that includes a lock-out procedure.

But how do you go about doing this?

What to include when developing a lock-out procedure for your company

There are a few basic steps to the lock-out procedure –PRE, MID and POST. Make sure you include each in your procedure.

PRE-lock-out starts with the issue of a lock-out or work permit by the responsible person.

This is followed by the drawing of locks and keys, de-activating the equipment or process through conventional or other means and the securing of the lock on the lock-out device.

This is accompanied by the completion and hanging of the tag on the lock. This tag will show who is working on the machine and the date on which the lock-out was done. It also makes it easy to see if the lock-out is currently in use.

MID-lock-out continues by ensuring that the correct control has been locked, effectively disconnecting the power. Secure the key on the person who performed the lock-out and start the maintenance or other work. This stage continues until all work is complete.

POST-lock-out begins with a thorough inspection to remove all tools, loose parts and other maintenance equipment. Replace all the machine guards and other guards, says the Health & Safety Advisor.

Employees must all be accounted for and be clear of all moving or hazardous mechanisms. Power is then restored and the necessary tests carried out before resuming normal operation.

Your lock-out procedure will only be effective if you include the above mentioned elements. So make sure you do so your workers will be safe when working on company machinery.

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