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Toolbox Talk - Lockout/Tagout

Toolbox Talk - Lockout/Tagout
Disclaimer: This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. However, it is to be used for reference purposes only and is not intended to cover all aspects of the topic presented.


Anyone who operates, cleans, services, adjusts and repairs machinery or equipment should be aware of the hazards associated with that machinery. Locking or tagging out is required whenever an employee is required to remove or bypass a guard or safety device or when an employee places a part of their body into an area that would be a danger zone during a machine operation cycle. Failure locking or tagging out power sources on equipment can result in electrocutions, amputations and other serious accidents.

What are the most common causes of these accidents?


  • The on/off switch was set to off; however, the power source feeding it was still live.
  • The machine was turned on accidentally because the person who turned it on didn't realize that another worker was there and could get hurt.
  • The machine wasn't working correctly but wasn't fixed, turned off, locked or tagged, and someone who didn't know about the problem used it.
  • Moving equipment wasn't blocked. Even when the electrical energy source has been isolated, hydraulic, steam, water, or air pressure needs to be controlled to prevent movement.
  • Safety procedures were inadequate or hadn't been properly explained.

Remember the dangers when working around any machinery or moving equipment. Even if you don't operate the machinery, you could get caught in it and injured if it isn't properly disconnected or guarded from accidental contact.

What can you do to prevent accidental injury from moving machinery?


  • Ensure you know the hazardous energy associated with your equipment prior to doing any work on it.
  • Ensure you know all the energy that could affect the task (air movement, electric, gravity, water, pneumatic, hydraulic, steam, etc.)
  • Ensure you control the accidental release of the energy prior to working on the equipment through lockout, tagout or alternative measures identified for your specific equipment.
  • Never reach into moving equipment or place your body, head or hands near such equipment. In even the blink of an eye you could have a life changing injury.
  • Test the energy after you believe it to be isolated. This is one of the most overlooked steps and probably the most important. Employees think they have isolated the energy at the source, but it isn't for one reason or another.
  • Never remove or modify guards until the energy has been isolated. Block or brace parts that could move during repair or maintenance.
  • Be aware of your personal safety and the safety of others when working with or around moving equipment and machinery. Always follow proper lockout and tagout procedures, even for a quick or minor repair!
Check out the MIOSHA Compliance Guide for help with your program.
To download a pdf of this article, click here.

Posted on Wednesday, February 01, 2012 (Archive on Friday, March 07, 2014)
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