Recent ActivityRecent Activity

Lockout/Tagout Annual Audits: What You Need to Know

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Dictumst vestibulum rhoncus est pellentesque elit ullamcorper. Aliquet risus feugiat in ante metus dictum at tempor. Urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Nisi quis eleifend quam adipiscing vitae proin sagittis nisl. Nunc sed augue lacus viverra vitae congue eu consequat ac. Elit pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Dictumst vestibulum rhoncus est pellentesque elit ullamcorper. Aliquet risus feugiat in ante metus dictum at tempor. Urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Nisi quis eleifend quam adipiscing vitae proin sagittis nisl. Nunc sed augue lacus viverra vitae congue eu consequat ac. Elit pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et. Egestas integer eget aliquet nibh praesent. Tristique sollicitudin nibh sit amet. Sed adipiscing diam donec adipiscing tristique risus nec feugiat in. Lobortis scelerisque fermentum dui faucibus in ornare quam viverra. Lacinia at quis risus sed vulputate odio. Ante in nibh mauris cursus mattis molestie a iaculis at. Non consectetur a erat nam at. Faucibus ornare suspendisse sed nisi lacus. In cursus turpis massa tincidunt dui ut ornare lectus. Fringilla ut morbi tincidunt augue interdum velit euismod.

Id aliquet risus feugiat in. In aliquam sem fringilla ut morbi tincidunt augue. Volutpat lacus laoreet non curabitur. Eget magna fermentum iaculis eu non diam phasellus. Bibendum arcu vitae elementum curabitur vitae nunc sed velit. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et. Blandit volutpat maecenas volutpat blandit aliquam. Tellus integer feugiat scelerisque varius morbi. Sit amet purus gravida quis blandit turpis cursus. Viverra orci sagittis eu volutpat odio facilisis. Rhoncus est pellentesque elit ullamcorper dignissim cras tincidunt lobortis. Mi sit amet mauris commodo. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque varius morbi enim. Amet nisl purus in mollis nunc sed. Eget dolor morbi non arcu risus quis varius quam. Mattis enim ut tellus elementum sagittis vitae et. Lectus magna fringilla urna porttitor rhoncus dolor purus non.

At auctor urna nunc id cursus metus aliquam eleifend. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing. Congue mauris rhoncus aenean vel elit scelerisque. Nunc mi ipsum faucibus vitae aliquet nec. Venenatis tellus in metus vulputate eu scelerisque felis imperdiet proin. Scelerisque fermentum dui faucibus in. Vel fringilla est ullamcorper eget nulla facilisi etiam dignissim diam. Est velit egestas dui id ornare arcu. Vel pretium lectus quam id leo in vitae turpis massa. Eu tincidunt tortor aliquam nulla. Hendrerit dolor magna eget est lorem ipsum.

Et pharetra pharetra massa massa ultricies. Tellus at urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor. Non diam phasellus vestibulum lorem sed risus ultricies tristique. Vel pretium lectus quam id leo. Mi sit amet mauris commodo. Id ornare arcu odio ut sem nulla pharetra. Pharetra sit amet aliquam id diam maecenas ultricies. Pharetra diam sit amet nisl suscipit. Vitae nunc sed velit dignissim sodales ut eu. Integer feugiat scelerisque varius morbi enim nunc. Egestas purus viverra accumsan in nisl nisi scelerisque. Sit amet nulla facilisi morbi tempus iaculis.

Nunc aliquet bibendum enim facilisis gravida neque convallis. Sed euismod nisi porta lorem mollis aliquam ut. Elementum facilisis leo vel fringilla est ullamcorper. Orci ac auctor augue mauris augue neque gravida in. Scelerisque viverra mauris in aliquam sem fringilla ut morbi. Tincidunt vitae semper quis lectus nulla at volutpat diam ut. Scelerisque varius morbi enim nunc faucibus a pellentesque sit. Orci porta non pulvinar neque laoreet suspendisse interdum consectetur libero. Nisi porta lorem mollis aliquam ut porttitor leo a diam. Pulvinar etiam non quam lacus suspendisse faucibus interdum posuere lorem. Risus pretium quam vulputate dignissim suspendisse in est ante. Commodo sed egestas egestas fringilla phasellus faucibus. Aenean et tortor at risus viverra adipiscing at in tellus. Quis imperdiet massa tincidunt nunc pulvinar. Diam ut venenatis tellus in metus vulputate eu scelerisque. Enim blandit volutpat maecenas volutpat. Lectus arcu bibendum at varius vel.

Syed Mujtaba
Syed Mujtaba
Associate Engineer, Safety, Rockwell Automation
Syed Mujtaba

Lockout/tagout annual audits are essential for maintaining a functional, compliant program. After all, it’s not enough to create lockout procedures and never review them again. It’s not enough to train and test employees just once. And it’s not enough to assume your lockout/tagout (LOTO) program is in good shape. The fact is, it’s a best practice to revisit LOTO procedures, employee training and the overall LOTO program and policy at least once a year.

Oh, and the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) requires it. Without an annual inspection, companies are exposed to potential OSHA violations and other safety issues.

Audits are just one of the five key components of a comprehensive LOTO program – along with equipment-specific procedures, employee training, a corporate policy, and adequate devices. However, annual auditing crosses over into half of those components: procedures and authorized employees. This illustrates the interconnectedness of these components as part of any LOTO program.

How to Conduct LOTO Audits

The audit process allows safety managers and supervisors to take a step back and examine the lockout/tagout program as a whole. Lockout/tagout-related audits provide a chance for the entire program to be reviewed for gaps, deficiencies, and flaws.

Throughout the course of any given year, a manufacturer will install new equipment or machines, perform modifications to existing equipment, and change energy sources and devices. Corrections to procedures, training and policy should be made as those changes are introduced. But with an audit, you can dive deeper to double-check that changes were made correctly, to fix any issues that may have been overlooked, and to verify that your program is up-to-date.

Procedure Audits: OSHA requires all lockout/tagout procedures to be reviewed at least once per year. While this might seem excessive, especially for large plants, keep in mind that the number of machine modifications that occur in a year’s time averages up to 15% in most industries. And that doesn’t account for new equipment that might be installed during the year. The annual audit helps confirm all machines that need one have an updated, written procedure. For older, existing procedures, review the accuracy of information about energy sources, valves or electrical disconnects, energy source lockout/isolation, devices and pictures. For printed procedures posted on the machine, are they hanging up and in good condition? If not, they may need to be reprinted. This is also a good opportunity for clean-up of digital files. Make sure the correct version is being used and that old files are identified and placed in separate folders.

Authorized Employee Audits: During the annual audit, it is also necessary to observe a respective sampling of authorized employees actually performing lockout/tagout to confirm they are following the procedures correctly. “Authorized employees” are those who have completed LOTO training and whose job it is to conduct the service and/or maintenance of equipment as needed. The auditor should have each employee lockout a machine, being sure to check: that the employee knew where to locate a copy of the written procedure, that the correct shutdown steps were followed when locking out the machine, that the employee used the correct devices, that the correct steps were followed to confirm energy sources were locked out and the machine reached a zero-energy state. These audits are important to gain an understanding of the authorized employees’ grasp of their lockout/tagout duties. If necessary, retraining may need to occur. If there appears to be a systemic issue with the majority of employees, it may be a good idea to review initial training techniques and potentially update the entire training program.

LOTO Program Audit: After procedures and authorized employees have been audited, manufacturers should review the company energy control program and written policy. Make sure LOTO-related roles and responsibilities are clearly outlined and that special circumstances such as group lockout and working with contractors are included. Evaluate the overall effectiveness of your LOTO program by examining the health of your safety culture, employee understanding of the importance of lockout/tagout, time pressures that may risk employee safety, and ways to incentivize safety.

It’s true that auditing can be complicated, particularly in large plants. But from time-saving software that captures and provides the data and proof OSHA needs, to outsourcing some or all of the process to LOTO professionals, there are ways to achieve compliance.

Tips for Success

If an annual audit seems overwhelming, you’re not alone in the feeling. But preparing for and conducting audits doesn’t have to be a drain on time and resources. Here are some tips to help make the process go smoother.

  • Try breaking the annual audit into a quarterly task, auditing 25% of the procedures each quarter.
  • Divide up responsibility between multiple auditors or have each department responsible for auditing their own equipment.
  • Consider outsourcing the audit and/or policy review.
  • Have supervisors audit their authorized employees throughout the year, when they are already performing lockout; keep a spreadsheet to know who’s been audited so far.
  • Use annual PMs as a time to review the lockout/tagout procedure; track audits throughout the year.
  • Invest in lockout/tagout auditing software, like ScanESC™,  to help manage and document the process.
  • Create a system for employees to report machine modifications throughout the year, so procedures can be updated in real time.
  • Consult this handy auditing checklist to help keep you on track.

Rockwell Automation Lockout/Tagout Services can help your operations achieve OSHA compliance, employee safety and greater productivity by focusing on any and all of the five key components of a LOTO program.


Subscribe to Rockwell Automation and receive the latest news, thought leadership and information directly to your inbox.

Recommended For You