Benefits of Digitizing Lockout/Tagout Procedures

Benefits of Digitizing Lockout/Tagout Procedures

  

Uncontrolled or unexpected releases of energy during service or maintenance of equipment can seriously injure or even kill employees. Helping prevent such catastrophes, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) mandates lockout/tagout (LOTO), also known as lockout/tagout procedures. LOTO identifies and controls hazardous energy prior to maintenance and/or repair work. Upgrading inefficient and cumbersome pen-and-paper methods to digitized lockout/tagout procedures offers significant benefits, including:

  • Real-time interactive procedure/workflow instructions
  • Real-time communication between workers and support personnel
  • Real-time situational awareness between workers and chain of command
  • Automated data collection and triggered alerts
  • Instantaneous sharing of photos and video recordings
  • Automated record-keeping for compliance purposes
Below, we discuss the importance of complying with OSHA's lockout/tagout regulations for employee safety and the many benefits of digitizing lockout/tagout procedures.

Why Are Lockout/Tagout Procedures Regulated by OSHA?

According to OSHA, approximately 3 million workers face the risk of exposure to hazardous energy from servicing equipment and machinery. OSHA estimates that compliance with lockout/tagout procedures prevents around 50,000 injuries and 120 deaths every year. Following lockout/tagout procedures prior to servicing is essential for safely isolating and/or discharging energy from sources, such as:
  • Mechanical
  • Electrical
  • Chemical
  • Thermal
  • Radiation
  • Pneumatic
  • Hydraulic
  • Process fluids
The lockout/tagout standard establishes an employer's legal duty to safeguard employees from hazardous energy. Formally authorized employees must receive training to recognize, understand, and fully comply with all lockout/tagout procedures, including:
  • Inspecting and identifying applicable hazardous energy sources in the workplace
  • Following safe methods of isolating and/or controlling applicable energy sources
  • Safely applying, using, and removing physical locks or tags used as energy control devices
  • Prohibiting restarting or reenergizing locked or tagged out equipment or machinery
  • Adhering to any additional workplace-specific procedures related to lockout/tagout regulations
  • Annual retraining and/or reviewing of lockout/tagout procedures to maintain proficiency

Benefits of Digitizing Lockout/Tagout Procedures

Just as smartphones and other smart computing devices have transformed today's global workforce, digitized operations are also transforming many businesses and industries across the globe. Although lockout/tagout procedures may vary from one organization to another, specific steps for compliance are easy to identify for upgrading to a digital format.The benefits of upgrading a paper checklist to a digitized solution include equipping personnel with portable, easy-to-follow instructions and interactive procedural checklists. By using lockout/tagout procedures on a connected smart device, workers have added advantages, such as supplemental documentation at their fingertips, should a need for more information arise. They also have multidirectional communication available, ensuring real-time situational awareness and support for procedural accuracy, safety, and regulatory compliance.Effective communication is key to workplace safety, especially in environments where workers risk exposure to uncontrolled releases of hazardous energy. However, when organizations operate in potentially combustible environments, additional safety concerns prohibit communication with standard smartphones and mobile devices. Workers can't have these devices in hazardous/Zone 1 environments. Only certified intrinsically safe devices are acceptable because they are purpose-built to not generate sparks that could lead to catastrophic explosions.

Aegex Technologies for Digitizing Zone 1 Lockout/Tagout Procedures

Aegex Technologies is the leading-edge digital design and engineering firm you can turn to for the right digital solutions for Zone 1 environments. Aegex digitization tools and solutions include purpose-built aegex10 Intrinsically Safe Tablets globally certified for ATEX/IECEx Zone 1 and C I, II, III D1 environments. Used with our world-class ecosystem of customizable enterprise-class software and industry-specific applications, our aegex10 tablets offer convenient and familiar Windows-based mobile access for all aspects of digital operations.Digitizing lockout/tagout procedures is an excellent step toward empowering your workforce through digitized operations. If your organization is seeking automated regulatory compliance, increased efficiency, and greater overall business success, now is the time to invest in digital transformation. Contact us here for more information about cost-effective Aegex digitization tools for successful digital operations.