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The benefits of group lockout solutions within the trade industry

A group lockout tagout procedure requires coordination and communication, as it involves multiple people working simultaneously. Whilst it can be more complex than an individual lockout tagout procedure, there are many benefits to performing the group lockout tagout method in the workplace, specifically within the trade industry.

Implemented procedures are standardised

The lockout/tagout process can be more complex and can easily become dangerous if not all employees are efficiently trained correctly. The benefit of training employees together, including refresher training intermittently, is that you can ensure each worker is up to date on the latest changes and regulations.

It is in the best interests of the company to hold one authorised employee in charge of the process on each shift, usually the most qualified management member. This person can check and report on the overseen process at the end of each shift while having overall responsibility for the control of hazardous energy for all members of the group.

Top tip: Group lockout tagout procedures should be written clearly and displayed for employees to view to become effective. This means that consistent and correct methods will be used time again. Detailed written instructions of each of the nine stages of lockout/tagout should be available for all workers to minimise room for error or the chance of incorrect methods being used.

It encourages both individual accountability and teamwork

As the lockout will be performed at the same time for each worker, this encourages employees to work together. If someone needs help or support, this can be offered in the case of a group lockout. Greater coordination between employees is important when more than one craft or department is involved.

However, despite being overseen, each member of staff is in control of their own energy control procedures, each stage of lockout/tagout being completed, and the efficiency at which is it completed. This way, each lockout is kept simple to complete. But even with one person in charge, it is critical for each trained employee who is part of the group to have good knowledge of the procedure and be trained in all lockout/tagout steps.

Each employee is accounted for

In a group lockout, each employee must affix their personal identifying tag to the group lockout device before servicing equipment and machinery. Utilising lockout tagout equipment from Reece Safety means each employee has access to their own tag and correct lockout device, providing control over their own protection and work. As part of the group lockout procedure each employee is accountable for their own equipment and ensuring it has been properly de-energized. By completing a group lockout effectively, it will ensure that all workers know when it is safe to re-energise equipment.

Top tips for performing a group lockout procedure effectively

Put one employee in charge – A single authorised employee must assume the overall responsibility for communication, coordination, and implementation of the energy control procedures.

Provide a lock for each worker – Individual lockout tagout devices will inform others that the employee is working on the equipment. If the device remains attached, the authorised person in charge of the group knows that the work has not been completed and that it is not safe to re-energize the equipment. Only the person responsible for the lockout device can remove it.

Use work authorisation permits – A work authorisation permit is a document that authorises employees to perform specific tasks. These documents may be used as a means of achieving compliance with the group lockout/tagout requirements.

Whenever machine maintenance or repairs are performed by a group of employees, it is vital that all workers are trained to a high level and know each step of the lockout programme. By using the key elements of lockout procedures, it is possible to safely allow groups of employees to complete the lockout together.