Why we don’t use padlocks in our lockout tagout programs

What is LOTO

Lock out tagout is the control of energy sources with a physical lock of the system and break in the energy source to the piece of equipment.  It is important to keep you from being caught in the machinery and suffering loss of limb or death.

Locks Matter

The lock you choose matters.  It can be the difference between life and death.  There are two basic types of padlocks.  Those are Keyed and Combination.  There are several variations of these including :

  • Closed shackle
  • Straight shackle (or roller shutter)
  • Discus or circular
  • Long shackle

When we choose a lock we have to consider the safety features of the lock.  The first is how we control the opening and closing of the lock.  When we use a combination lock, we essentially are reduced to a level of security with which we can keep secrets.  Think of it more like your password.  The more people that share the computer or padlock in this case, the more they have access to a password. The difference is that for many of our combination locks we cannot change the password.  So that password floats around.  That means that an unlimited number of people could have the combination and open the lock.

When we look at a keyed padlock, the password can be known by many people but without the physical password in hand (key) then you cannot open the lock.  Typically only two keys are provided with each lock.

Destroy a Key

When using a padlock for LOTO you should always destroy all keys to the lock except one.  Just one.  That is the one that you keep.  When that key is lost then you will have to cut the lock off.  It’s a lot of responsibility but you will not accidentally energize equipment and cut your hand off.

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