Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO)

Frequently Asked Questions

Answer -- LOTO (Lock Out Tag Out) is the physical restraint of all hazardous energy sources that supply power to a piece of equipment, machinery or system. LOTO also includes applying a Warning Tag on the physical restraint device. This documents the Authorized LOTO personnel and the date. LOTO operations must be done on all equipment, machinery or system Shut Downs before Authorized Personnel can perform repairs or service.

Most equipment and machinery has an Energy Isolation Device. These devices are usually put into the off position to shut down the hazardous energy source. Physical restraints (Lock Out Devices) can be put onto the Energy Isolation Device and secured with padlocks. Examples of Lock Out Devices include: ball valve and gate valve lock outs, circuit breaker lockouts, plug and wall switch lock outs and pneumatic lock outs. The total shutdown and restraint of all hazardous energy sources including the safe release of stored hazardous energy (e.g. capacitors and pressure in a line) must be accounted for.

Answer -- Yes! Only Authorized Personnel can Shut Down and lock out equipment powered by hazardous energy sources. Personnel are Authorized and Qualified through training on LOTO regulatory requirements and LOTO procedures for the equipment or machinery they have been assigned to work on. Personnel affected by Shut Downs because they are operators of the equipment/machinery or they must work in a controlled work area, must be made aware of the LOTO procedures that will be carried out by Authorized personnel. Awareness will familiarize the affected operator(s) with the LOTO devices that will be in use such as padlocks and tags; that the operator cannot compromise (remove) a lock or tag, and the operator cannot use the equipment until it has been cleared for use by the Authorized personnel.

UVA Facilities Management Occupational Health & Safety offers ongoing LOTO Safety training. University Personnel who shut down hazardous electrical energy sources must also complete Electrical Safety training. EHS Electrical Safety staff is available to answer questions and facilitate with registering for this training. Please contact us at (434.982.4911) when you complete the training to continue with an onsite consultation of your LOTO operations. EHS will determine all safety requirements have been evaluated, understood and successfully implemented.

Answer -- Yes and No!

NO, if the only energy source that powers the equipment is a cord and plug then the employee needs to remove the plug from the electrical power source and keep the cord and plug under his/her exclusive control while performing the service or maintenance task.

Yes, LOTO does apply to cord and plug electrical equipment if there is another energy source (i.e.-a capacitor that stores electrical energy inside of the equipment) that could harm the employee if it was not identified and/or isolated prior to doing a service or maintenance task. Generally, stored electrical energy sources (i.e.-capacitors) are identified with an Electrical Shock Hazard Warning Label.

Answer -- Some examples of hazardous energy sources include electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal or mechanical energy. Hazardous energy can also be stored (e.g. capacitors or gravity equipment, such as machinery or system components that are suspended, blocked or chocked).

Service and repair activities may include but are not limited to: installing, setting up, adjusting, inspecting, lubricating, cleaning, making adjustments or tool changes.

Answer -- Yes! OSHA regulations and the University of Virginia Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO) Program make LOTO procedures mandatory. Special requirements include the following:

Step by step LOTO procedures must be developed, documented and followed for all equipment, machinery or system Shut Downs before Authorized Personnel can perform service or repairs.

Authorized UVA Personnel are designated and qualified by the department to safely operate equipment, machinery or a system and; perform maintenance such as diagnostics, troubleshooting, service and repairs. Authorized Personnel must be trained on LOTO procedures prior to performing Shut Downs. EHS can facilitate training, contact us at 434.982.4911.

Personal padlocks, warning tags and lock out devices must be provided by the department and assigned to Authorized Personnel.

Answer -- Yes! If you shut off electrical power by turning off a Disconnect Switch you may be at risk of an unexpected failure of the equipment such as electrical arcing that can produce explosive forces. To avoid electrical risks and potential injuries read the Precautions below.

NOTE: Individuals such as faculty, staff and students working in lab and shop environments, must follow these Special Procedures. These procedures will help to prevent injuries in the event there is a mechanical failure in the equipment.

Take these precautions to avoid electrical safety risks prior to performing Lock Out Tag Out on "hard wired" equipment in a lab or a shop:

Individuals such as faculty, staff and students are not to perform any repairs or service that involves working on energized conductors or; at any time coming into accidental contact with energized conductors that may become exposed if any electrical safety guard, shield or enclosure is removed.

This type of work needs to be referred to: a qualified and licensed electrician (i.e. Facilities Management), or an equipment manufacturers' service technician. These individuals are authorized through special training and knowledge to perform work on equipment when it is energized or there is a potential risk of coming into contact with any of the electrical systems that can be energized.

Individuals in the shop or lab must be qualified (authorized by the department and trained) to perform the intended Lock Out procedure and assure all hazardous energy sources are shut off prior to doing the work.

A qualified individual must have documented training and knowledgeable on the: specific hazards inherent in the equipment, the LOTO procedure and applicable LOTO devices to secure the equipment.

Safe procedures begins with wearing the right level of electrical personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE will help to prevent injuries if an electrical arc event occurs due to a faulty disconnect switch. This occurrence is expected to be minimal but you must be prepared and protected.

You will need to wear plastic frame safety glasses (no metal) or impact resistant safety goggles (preferable) to protect your face from any shrapnel. You will also need to use hearing protection to protect your ears from explosive noise. Wear a heavy leather glove on your left hand and a long sleeve 100% cotton shirt or lab coat to protect your skin from burns.

Do not wear any synthetic clothing such as rayon or polyester including fleece. These fabrics can exacerbate the level of burn injuries in the event of an electrical arc flash by embedding into the skin. This goes for what you are wearing underneath the long sleeve shirt or lab coat.

Donned in your PPE, use the "left hand rule" to operate the disconnect switch into the off position. Twist your face and torso away and use your left hand to turn the safety switch off. This helps to prevent a direct injury to the face, eyes, and front of torso in the case of a sudden mechanical failure inside the disconnect box.

Next, operate the power switch of the equipment or machinery to verify the power is off. The electrical disconnect switch must be locked out by the authorized individual shutting off the power as well as any other authorized individual who will perform work on the equipment.

Remember! A qualified licensed electrician must perform services or repairs on electrical equipment where there is any risk of coming into contact with energized conductors.

Answer -- Yes! Equipment manufacturers, their service representatives or; the Equipment Operator’s Manual, can provide information on how to safely isolate the equipment’s energy source(s) during service or maintenance activities. EHS can provide technical assistance, contact us at 434.982.4911. Personnel must be authorized by the Department to perform assigned tasks; and qualification must include training in LOTO and how to safely to perform the assigned tasks.

Answer -- Yes! LOTO procedures must be written down in an easy to understand step by step sequence that accounts for the safe Shut Down of all hazardous energy sources including stored energy. The goal is consistent and safe Shut Downs by all Authorized Personnel. LOTO procedures are the foundation of LOTO training. This training must be documented and is required to Authorize and Qualify personnel to perform Shut Downs.

Refer to the UVA Facilities Management - Lockout/Tagout Program, Appendix C.1 for the LOTO Equipment Specific Project Summary Form, all of the LOTO steps to follow have been included and the completed form serves as documentation. EHS can provide technical assistance, contact us at 434.982.4911.

Answer -- Yes! The regulations refer to this as multiple or "group lock out". Special procedures for "group lock out" must be included in the mandatory LOTO procedure. Special "group lock out" devices are available that can hold multiple padlocks. This assures each person’s safety until the work by all Authorized Personnel has been completed. All personnel participating in a "group lock out" must be trained on the LOTO procedure and the special "group lock out" procedures.

Answer -- Most likely yes. Shutting Down electrical energy sources could result in arcs or contact with energized parts. Safety glasses or faceshields to protect from potential electrical arcs or explosions and insulated gloves rated for the voltage may be required. Only authorized and qualified personnel can shut down electrical energy sources.

Working around thermal energy sources such as medium and high pressure steam may require clothing and/or thermal blankets to protect from burn hazards.

These are only a couple of examples. Contact EHS at 434.982.4911 for technical assistance on appropriate personal protective equipment for your specific operation.

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.147, The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout Standard). The UVA Facilities Management - Lockout/Tagout Program complies with this Standard.

Service Satisfaction Survey
Please complete this brief survey and give us your opinion about the services Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) has provided to you. All completed surveys are sent to the Director of EHS.