Lockout and Tagout (or LOTO) is how we commonly describe practices and procedures that secure machines, equipment, and processes in a zero-energy state while maintenance and repairs are being performed. These practices and procedures protect workers from the inadvertent release of energy, the most common being electrical. Other types of energy that LOTO controls include hydraulic, pneumatic, gravitational, thermal, and chemical.

Proper Lockout Tagout Procedures

When it comes to lockout, the intent and basic legal requirements in provincial, territorial, and federal occupational health and safety legislation are similar across Canada. Locking out is a requirement during repairs, maintenance, and other work that is performed on machines outside of their regular operation. To lock something out means just that: to physically place the lock on an energy-isolating device, such as a switch, valve, and electrical panel, to secure against inadvertent activation or movement.

It is important to keep in mind that applying the lock is just one control in a broader hierarchy of controls that protects against the release of hazardous energy.

What about tagout? When it comes to the tag, occupational health and safety legislation in Canada varies from highly prescriptive requirements to none required at all. Why? This is because we do not actually tagout, we tag. Tags provide additional information that accompanies the lockout step. Tags identify the person who applied the lock, date and time, location, and any other hazard warning information. Even where tags are not required, they are used as a best practice as part of locking out.

Lock out and Tag out in Canada

In all provinces, tags are never used alone as a substitute for lockout. Under Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements, tagout devices may substitute for lockout provided the amount of protection is equivalent to locking out. The tagout device includes a clear warning tag and a secure way of attaching it to the energy-isolating device.

When energy isolation is required, we lockout. Tags are then applied in addition to the locks. That is why we call it Lockout and Tagout.

If you would like more information on any of the topics above, check out the links below.

Lockout and Tag Online Course

Health and Safety Awareness For Workers and Supervisors Online Course

Joint Health and Safety Committee Course

Lockout and Tag – Regulations and Rules

Published: October 18, 2019
Last Modified: October 30, 2019