Recognizing lockout/tagout training concerns
All employees involved in lockout/tagout require training. The authorized employees (those doing the maintenance work) have the most responsibility and require the most training. However, affected employees (those who operate machines being serviced) also need some training. In addition, some other employees (those working in an area where lockout or tagout is used) may require training so they don’t inadvertently interfere with the lockout/tagout process.
Retraining is required when there’s a change in the job, equipment, or process. Those changes could impact all categories of employees (authorized, affected, and other).
Retraining is also required when a periodic inspection reveals a problem. The periodic inspection is an annual review of the energy control procedure to ensure that it is adequate and is actually being followed.
Follow the procedures
Mechanics may work on dozens of machines, and each machine may have unique lockout/tagout procedures. But do the mechanics actually read and follow the procedures for each machine? Or do they just “know what to do” based on experience? Could other maintenance staff follow the procedures as written?
Make sure that authorized employees actually follow the procedures. If they are unsure about any part of a procedure, or if they skip a step that doesn’t make sense, then the procedure should be updated.
If additional training is needed, it may be best to conduct the training at the machine and ask the mechanics to indicate where the procedure is unclear. If the questions are more than the training group can handle, you may need to call in an expert (electrician, engineer, etc.).
As necessary, revise the procedure until it’s understandable. You want the procedures to be accurate and easy to use. If veteran mechanics think the procedure is hard to follow (or if they have ideas on how to improve the written steps), you want to correct those issues before contractors or new employees need to rely on the procedure.
Complete and accurate procedures not only keep your company in compliance, but help keep your employees safe.