The 6 Steps to Lockout/Tagout
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Jessica Smith
Jessica Smith
October 30, 2019

The 6 Steps to Lockout/Tagout



A lockout/tagout procedure should include the following six steps:

  1. Preparation
  2. Shutdown
  3. Isolation
  4. Lockout/Tagout
  5. Stored Energy Check
  6. Isolation Verification

Let's take a closer look at the steps for lockout/tagout safety.


Lockout/Tagout Step 1: Preparation

The first step of locking and tagging out equipment for service and maintenance is to prepare. During the preparation phase, the authorized employee must investigate and gain a complete understanding of all types of hazardous energy that might be controlled. In addition, it's important to identify the specific hazards and of course means for controlling that energy.





Lockout/Tagout Step 2: Shut Down

With planning complete, the actual process of powering down and locking out machines begins.


At this point, it's time to shut down the machine or equipment that will be serviced or maintained. Another important part of this step is to inform any employee affected by the shutdown, even if they won't play a role in the service or maintenance. 


Lockout/Tagout Step 3: Isolation

The next step of the lockout/tagout procedure is to isolate the machine or equipment from any source of energy. This may mean any number of things, such as turning off the power at a breaker or shutting a valve.


Lockout/Tagout Step 4: Lockout/Tagout

IMG_4427With the machine or equipment isolated from its energy source the next step of lockout/tagout is to actually lock and tag out the machine.


During this step, the authorized employee will attach lockout and/or tagout devices to each energy-isolating device. The point is to apply the lockout mechanism on the energy-isolating device in a way so it stays in the "safe" position and cannot be moved to the unsafe position except by the person performing the lockout.


Tagout refers to applying a tag on the device as well. This tag includes the name of the person who performed the lockout and additional information. 


Lockout/Tagout Step 5: Stored Energy Check

Even after the energy source has been disconnected and the machine has been locked out, that doesn't entirely guarantee that there's no hazardous energy still stored within the machine or that it's even safe to perform the maintenance.


At this time, it's important to look for any hazardous energy thats been "stored" within the machine, or any "residual" energy. During this phase, any potentially hazardous stored or residual energy must be relieved, disconnected, restrained, or made non-hazardous in some other way. 





Lockout/Tagout Step 6: Isolation Verification

This last step is all about making sure. Yes, you've shutdown the machines, isolated them from their source of power, locked them out, and checked for hazardous stored energy. But now's the time to double-check that you did it right and it's now safe to work on the machine or equipment.


At this point, an authorized employee verifies the machine has been properly isolated and de-energized. 



Did you like our video? The live-action footage used belongs to our Lockout/Tagout: Secure Safely training program. This program is modernized, features quality animations and video footage, and is OSHA compliant. Topics covered include:

  • What is lockout tagout?
  • Authorized and Affected Employee
  • Employer and Employee responsibilities
  • When training is necessary
  • Energy sources
  • Energy control devices
  • Tagout limitations
  • The type and magnitude of energy found in the workplace
  • and more!

Get our lockout/tagout safety training in DVD/USB formats or online eLearning. Don't have a current online system for training but need one? Try our innovative online learning management system called SafetySoft. In addition to having your own portal and amazing features you also get hundreds of training titles to choose from which includes Lockout/Tagout: Secure Safely!