Close this search box.
Close this search box.
Close this search box.
lockout tagout


Get the latest in print & creative arts business updates, trends, and inspiration.

The Basics of a Strong Lockout/Tagout Program

Every year, hundreds of workers in the United States die because they don’t follow lockout/tagout procedures or their employers did not have them in place – or, if they did, failed to enforce their rules.

A lockout tagout is a protection system against unintentional exposure to hazardous energy from equipment and machinery.  You want a program in place to provide instructions for your employees to cut off power to machinery or to otherwise protect themselves and your technology.

It’s important to remember that a lockout program will not be effective if your employees are not properly trained in how it works and if you don’t have consequences for them if they fail to follow the program. 

In fact, failure to train or inadequate training is one of the top-cited lockout/tagout violations by Cal/OSHA and can have dire consequences.

Just this past year in California, two workers died because of insufficient training. One died on the job at a nut cannery because he had missed lockout/tagout training when he was on layoff.

In the other case, an employee at a clothing manufacturer was killed after a maintenance mechanic who had not been trained in lockout/tagout walked away when his co-worker entered a part of the machine to remove the finished product. The machine was de-energized but not locked out, and it start when the worker entered it.

Cal/OSHA required training

Under Cal/OSHA’s lockout/tagout standard, all authorized and affected employees, as well as those who work in areas where energy-control procedures are used, must be trained on lockout/tagout procedures.

Training must include hazards related to:

  • Cleaning
  • Repairing
  • Servicing
  • Setting up and adjusting prime movers, and
  • Machinery and equipment

Employees that should be trained include:

  • Qualified persons who lock out or tag out specific machines for such operations.
  • Those whose jobs require them to operate a machine. They must be instructed on the purpose and use of energy-control procedures.
  • Other employees include those whose work might be in an area where the procedures might be used. They must be instructed about the prohibitions on restarting or energizing machines that have been locked or tagged out.

HECP training requirements

The training provisions of the Cal/OSHA standard require that employees be trained on hazardous energy control procedures (HECPs) and associated hazards, including:

  • The purpose and use of HECPs, including prohibiting employees from attempting to restart machines that are locked or tagged out.
  • Equipment-specific lockout procedures. Every machine is different and hazards vary from one machine to the next. Make sure your training covers the specifics of the machinery your workers use.
  • Before servicing or repairs, the machine must not only be turned off but also disengaged or de-energized (basically unplugging the machine to ensure it cannot start. This will also prevent a control switch that may still contain energy from releasing it, briefly starting the machine again. That sudden movement can be enough to cause serious injury.
  • Lockout/tagout procedures. After being turned off and disengaged, the machine must be locked out with a device that prevents it from being turned on. Additionally, the machine must be tagged with a notice warning workers not to turn it on as it’s being serviced.

Other tips:

  • If possible, you should also block out moveable parts during lockout/tagout procedures.
  • All workers involved in lockout/tagout should get their own locks. They should not use someone else’s lock, and they should not install or remove another employee’s lock.
  • One final bit of advice: Once a machine is locked out, the operator should try to turn it on again to see if it has been effectively disengaged.

The takeaway

Lockout/tagout procedures and training are essential for running a safe printing operation. The above procedures can save your workers from potential crushing, pinching, or amputation. Don’t let one of these preventable incidents happen in your shop.

2024 Student
Scholarship Application

To complete your application please provide the referring teachers information in the form below. The referring teacher’s email must be associated with an accredited Northern California college.

2024 Student
Scholarship Application

Sign Up to Start Receiving Chronicles

Contact me for the next session

Contact me about the next Print 101 class


Get a Free eBook on using Ancilliary Benefits to Retain Employees