11.17 - Lockout / Tagout

Last updated on April 25, 2023

POLICY: It is the policy of Spoon River College to establish requirements for the lockout or tagout (LOTO) of energy isolating devices.


This policy applies to all Spoon River College employees, students, and contractors.

Note: This policy also does not apply to work on cord and plug connected electrical equipment for which exposure to the hazards of unexpected start-up is controlled by unplugging it from the energy source if the plug is under the exclusive control of the employee performing the service.


Authorized employees: Employees that, per the requirements of their job, remove or bypass a guard or safety device or place any part of his or her body into an area of the machine or piece of equipment where work is actually performed upon the material being processed (point of operation) or where an associated danger exists during a machine cycle.

Lockout: The preferred method of isolating machines or equipment from energy sources.


  1. All unauthorized employees and students are prohibited from attempting to repair or maintain machines with a hazardous energy source.
  2. Locking devices and tags must be used when employees are performing maintenance or service to any machine or system where unexpected or unintentional motion could cause harm. Locking devices shall also be used when guards or other safety devices must be removed during service or when moving or energized parts put any part of the employee's body at risk of injury. Examples of conditions where locking and tagging must be used may include, but are not limited to:
    1. clearing blocked or jammed mechanical equipment.
    2. maintenance or repair work on equipment with moving parts.
    3. confined space entries.
    4. repairs or installation of electrical equipment.
  3. Contractors: Outside personnel or contractors involved in operations relating to equipment or machinery lockout that affects Spoon River College employees, must submit their energy control procedures to the Maintenance Office.
  4. Discipline: Violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion.
  5. Inspections: An authorized employee will conduct regular inspections of LOTO procedures. The designated inspector will document the inspection.
  6. Responsibilities: All authorized employees who perform lockout or tagout procedures are responsible to follow the appropriate procedures for the specific equipment they are locking or tagging out.
    1. All employees:
      1. must notify the appropriate persons when equipment needs servicing.
      2. follow LOTO instructions given by the authorized employees.
    2. Authorized employees:
      1. adhere to the requirements of the Lockout Tagout Policy.
      2. follow guidelines referenced in this plan to protect themselves and others from the release of hazardous energy.
      3. ensure the security of their own locking devices.
      4. complete all safety training requirements and comply with documentation procedures.
      5. report all workplace injuries, unsafe conditions and near-misses to their supervisors and/or the Human Resources Office.
    3. Director of Facilities:
      1. implements specific LOTO procedures.
      2. selects appropriate locking and tagging devices.
      3. inventories and identifies all potentially dangerous equipment capable of releasing hazardous energy during maintenance in work areas or facilities.
      4. identifies persons authorized to implement LOTO procedures and assure that each person attends training.
      5. reports all workplace injuries, unsafe conditions and near-misses to the Human Resources Office.
      6. instructs authorized LOTO personnel regarding the applicability of this plan to their respective job.
      7. provides proper locking and tagging equipment including locks, tags, multiple lock holders, etc.
      8. directs periodic safety audits of LOTO procedures and recommends action to correct conditions of non-compliance.
      9. complies with necessary documentation requirements.
    4. Human Resources Office:
      1. provides consultation to assist in the identification of equipment where LOTO should be utilized.
      2. prepares the LOTO policy with periodic review and revisions as needed.
      3. distributes the LOTO plan to affected department/office for distribution to all individuals who are authorized to perform maintenance on energized equipment.
      4. approves locks to be used.
      5. investigates and documents all reported accidents and/or near-miss accidents that are directly or indirectly related to the locking and tagging of equipment.
      6. provides training and retraining to all authorized employees.
  7. Training: The Human Resources Office will provide training to authorized employees prior to their initial involvement with any lockout or tagout operation. Refresher training will also be provided.
  8. Working without a lock: If a lock cannot be applied to the equipment, and the Director of Facilities can demonstrate that the tagging procedure will provide a level of safety equivalent to that obtained by the use of a lock, a tag may be used instead. A tag used without a lock shall be supplemented by one additional safety measure that provides a level of safety equivalent to that obtained by the use of a lock. Additional safety methods may include the removal of an isolating circuit element, blocking of a control switch, opening of an extra disconnecting device or the removal of a valve handle to reduce the likelihood of inadvertent activation. The tagout device shall be attached to the same location that the lockout device would have been attached.


  1. Preparation for shutdown:
    1. Identification of the Energy Type or Source: Determine where and how equipment is being energized. Since some equipment is powered by several sources (e.g., electrical, mechanical, pneumatic, chemical, thermal and hydraulic), all energizing sources shall be identified. For complex equipment, refer to the manufacturer's control diagram detailing the locations of all isolating points. These points may include breaker panels, switches and valves. Furthermore, possible residual energy and methods used to dissipate or restrain that energy shall be identified. In addition to identifying energy sources, the employee must determine the magnitude of the energy, the hazards of the energy to be controlled and the methods or means to control the energy. If authorized employees are unable to determine each form of energy, they must consult the Director of Facilities before work is started.
    2. Notify employees: Employees must be notified by authorized employees of the intent to service equipment. Notification shall be given before LOTO controls are applied.
    3. Shutdown Machine:
      1. Shut off equipment: If the machine or equipment is operating, employees shall shut it down by the normal stopping procedures (depress the stop button, open the switch, close valve, etc.).
      2. Deactivate the energy: Disconnect the device from all energy sources and release all residual energies that may present a hazard. Inspect the equipment to ensure all energy sources are disconnected.
      3. Release of stored or residual energy: Release stored or residual energy, such as that in capacitors, springs, elevated machine members, rotating flywheels, hydraulic systems and pressurized systems (air, gas, steam, or water). If energy is incapable of being released, the employee shall reposition, block or utilize some other protective measure to prevent the release of residual energy while service is in progress.
    4. Attach a Lock and Tag: Attach a lock and tag, of designated color, type and descriptive warning, on each disconnecting means used to de-energize circuits and equipment on which work is to be performed. The lock shall be attached to prevent persons from operating the equipment. Tags must be securely attached to energy isolating devices so that they cannot be inadvertently or accidentally detached during use. Additionally, tags shall be attached to all points where equipment or circuits can be energized. If multiple employees are servicing the same equipment, each shall attach their own lock to a multiple lock plate.

      Note: No attempt shall be made to remove another employee's lock unless the requirements listed below are satisfied.

    5. Verify that equipment is secure and deactivated: Test the deactivation of the equipment to ensure that equipment cannot be energized and potential energy sources secured. This should be done by:
      1. checking that no personnel are exposed.
      2. verifying the isolation of equipment by operating the push button or other normal operating controls. Secure all switches to prevent movement to the "on" or "start" position.
      3. checking pressure gauges to ensure de-pressurization of lines.
      4. Inspecting electrical circuits to confirm zero voltage.

      Note: All employees should consider equipment to be operable at all times except when they have personally locked it out.

  2. Returning equipment to service:
    1. Inspect the machine and work area:
      1. Inspect the machine(s) to insure that non-essential materials have been removed and the machine is in operating order. Visual inspections must be conducted to ensure:
        • tools and equipment are removed and secured safe guards are in place.
        • blocks, pins and chain (used during the lockout) are removed.
      2. Verify all equipment components are fully assembled and operational; and
      3. Inspect the work area to ensure that all employees have been safely positioned or removed from the area.
    2. Inspect the controls: Verify the controls are in neutral or the "off" position.
    3. Remove the lock devices: Each lock shall be removed by the authorized employee that applied it.  If the authorized employee is absent from the work place then the lock or tag can be removed by a qualified person designated to perform this task provided that the Director of Facilities:
      1. verifies that the employee is not present and therefore unable to remove the lock.
      2. makes all reasonable efforts to inform the authorized employee that the lockout/tagout device has been removed.
      3. ensures that the authorized employee knows the lockout/tagout device has been removed before work resumes.
  3. Re-energize the machine: After completing the above steps, restore the energy to the machine.
  4. Notify employees: If applicable, notify employees that the servicing or maintenance is completed, and the machine or equipment is ready for use.