What is a lockout?

Lockout is a measure put in place by the Quebec government within the framework of regulation respecting the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). This new safety procedure in manufacturing plants reduces the number of accidents caused by energy sources and protects employees during operations or maintenance.

The CCOHS lockout standard defines this practice as an additional safety feature to the energy isolation device. This type of lock is used to increase the level of safety and block the energy supply during repair, maintenance, or inspection work. This process allows the power supply to an equipment or process to be controlled or stopped for safety intervention.


Different types of lockout

To ensure the proper implementation of this protection, different types of lockout have been implemented by the CNESST.

1. Single-key lockout

The single-key lockout is the most common method and is also the only one that can secure the work environment before intervention. It must be stamped with the name of the person in charge or a serial number that can identify the person who installed it as soon as possible.

2. Serial lockout

The serial lockout is set up when you must intervene because different sources or types of energy are present with the same equipment. It then allows you to control several sources through one locking intervention tool.

3. Hasp

The hasp is like the single keyed padlock. The only difference is in the number of people who must work on the same machine. In other words, when several interventions are in progress, the workers must put their single lock on the hasp until the end of the intervention. Everyone's safety is therefore ensured until the last lock is removed from the hasp.

4. Lockout box

Unlike the other methods of lockout, the lockout box is to be implemented during larger interventions or with multiple simple lockouts. In this situation, a lockout manager will be designated by the principal contractor and will be in charge of locking all the energy sources. This locking will be done using another method, the serial lockout as seen above.
Because this practice is directly related to safety, there are many other lockout methods to preserve the safety of all workers. Moreover, these methods are accompanied by very strict and specific follow-up processes such as:
● The lockout tag notifies workers that the source is properly locked out. It includes the name of the person in charge, the date of lockout and the nature of the work 
● The lockout station being the place where all the material, documents and accessories for lockout are grouped, with the contact information of the person in charge
● The lockout logbook (or card) where all the information related to lockout operations can be found. It also makes it possible to know the number of equipment and the responsibility of the people involved 

Why are lockouts important ?

When interventions deal with various energy sources (thermal, electrical, hydraulic, etc.), lockout will come in as a support. In other words, it will add safety to interventions in the workplace that are already considered dangerous or risky.

Reduces accidents

This process is necessary to avoid unintentional starting of power units, equipment or machines when an intervention is performed. An accident that could cause both minor and major physical damage to the worker is stopped.
The main objective of lockout is to reduce or eliminate accidents by controlling energy sources.

Controls the source of energy

In addition to eliminating the risk of accidents, lockout allows for the control of energy sources during repair, industrial cleaning or maintenance activities. This process involves the installation of a lock or similar device that is able to shut off energy sources.
This practice is implemented for all types of energy such as: 
● Electrical energy (as in motors and heat generators) 
● Hydraulic energy (such as in hydroelectric power plants)
● Pneumatic energy (as in steam engines)
● Mechanical energy (such as pumps in wind turbines)
● Thermal energy (such as the release of fuel or oil)
● Chemical energy (such as hazardous product spills)
● Radiation energy (such as X-rays or ultraviolet rays)

How to make a lockout sheet ?

The implementation of lockout on energy sources is not the only element to guarantee the safety of the workers. The implementation of control processes that include a lockout sheet are extremely important.

Working as a cause-and-effect relationship, a partial or incorrect completion of the lockout sheet can lead to a failure of the safety system and increase the risk of accidents. 

To avoid this, here are a few tips on how to properly fill out your lockout sheet and ensure that your lockout is functioning properly.

1. Identify the machine 

Lockout ensures that all energy sources powering a machine are stopped. This is a critical safety procedure for the workers. It is important to identify the machine with its location, its locking code, its name, and its serial number. This information makes it possible to know which machine is responsible for the interventions.

2. Identify the person(s) responsible

This measure allows you to quickly identify and know the person or people in charge of lockout. The purpose is to know who to contact in case of an accident, a lockout, a breakdown, or lockout malfunction.

3. Identify the location of the lockout device(s)

The lockout sheet also includes the identification and location of control and energy disconnecting devices. Knowing this reduces the risk of accidents and increases the rate of response in the event of a malfunction in the safety process. 
By knowing which machine, the responsible person(s) and the location of the control center, every lockout will be effective.

4. Determine what type of material is needed for lockout

The lockout sheet not only has a preventive role, it also allows tracking of logistical information related to lockout. By referring to this list, managers know the number of locks and hasps used and to be used, as well as the characteristics of all the other accessories and equipment needed for lockout. 

A management of inventory and logistics is necessary to monitor the materials, their quantity, and their use.

5. Describing the steps of lockout 

This lockout sheet is also a lockout guide. In addition to gathering all the information needed for safety and monitoring of the equipment, the lockout sheet lists the steps and procedures to follow to ensure perfect lockout. 
Workers can refer to this sheet when they must lock out a source in a specific way or when they are not familiar with it.