What is a Lockout Tagout Procedure?

lockout tagout

When a forklift goes down for any reason, the facility supervisor is tasked with ensuring the machine does not cause damage to the operator or product. If damage has occurred, they must see to it that no further damage is caused. Lockout tagout procedures help protect forklift operators and mechanics from unexpected electrical surges while maintenance is being performed. OSHA requires any facility with forklifts in operation to have a lockout tagout procedure in place.

What is a Lockout Tagout procedure?

When done correctly, a lockout tagout procedure disables powered industrial trucks from releasing hazardous energy or starting unexpectedly during servicing or maintenance activities. OSHA requires any facility with forklifts in operation to have a lockout tagout procedure in place.

In most lockout tagout procedures, a locked box is attached to the forklift, and a red and white warning tag is placed on the steering wheel. A lockout device uses a lock to hold an energy isolation device in a safe position and prevents the energy activation in the powered industrial trucks. The tagout tag provides detailed information about why the forklift is locked out.

Creating a Lockout Tagout procedure

When developing a lockout/tagout program, the guidelines should be detailed and clear so that anyone reading them, even if they’ve never used the equipment before, can follow them correctly. Having a detailed lockout/tagout program is one of the best ways to ensure that nobody gets injured and no machinery gets damaged. Steps to bring the powered lift trucks back into operation should also be clear and detailed.

How it works

Though each facility may have a slightly different process, the steps are mostly the same. Here are some basic guidelines for performing lockout and tagout procedures:

To cease energy:

1.    Immediately notify workers
2.    Shut forklift down using normal procedures
3.    Isolate forklift from any and all energy sources
4.    Lockout and tagout
5.    Ensure isolation (lockout/tagout) of the forklift

Who implements Lockout/Tagout procedures?

Though it’s the responsibility of the facility manager to ensure proper steps are taken with lockout tagout procedures, it is also imperative for employees to learn and understand the process. Each lockout tagout procedure should be well-documented and issues communicated clearly with all team members.

An important regulation to remember: only those who performed the lockout/tagout procedure should sign off on bringing the forklift back into circulation once proper maintenance has been performed.


When is lockout/tagout necessary?

It can be difficult to determine when a machine must be locked out for servicing. Lockout is not solely for malfunctioning forklifts, but can also be necessary for certain maintenance. ESC Services suggests that lockout may not be needed for the following:

  • Normal operations
  • Plug systems
  • Hot Tap Work
  • Minor Servicing Activities

When all else fails, ask.

Failure to properly implement safety procedures

According to OSHA, failing to implement lockout tagout is one of the top 10 most serious violations and most often cited violations. Contrary to popular belief, simply removing the keys is not enough to properly lockout the forklift. The hazardous energy is not isolated, which leaves potential for an unexpected release of dangerous electricity and puts operators and mechanics in danger.

The Forklift Pro team takes forklift safety very seriously. Our forklift intake and maintenance process guarantees the safety of our team and potential buyers. To learn more about how we enforce safety in every piece of material handling equipment in our inventory, contact us.