Most people have never heard of a lockout device for valves, knobs, or doors. Yet in the industrial workplace, the lockout systems have been in place for decades. With the importance of keeping both the workplace and employees safe, the lockout devices are extremely important pieces of equipment. If you are curious, keep reading.
A lockout device can help prevent or eliminate workplace accidents during times when either the systems are in repair or during maintenance. The valve lock systems are often used to warn employees not to touch machinery or enter a certain area. They are also designed to ensure the maintenance workers have shut off the various pressurized valves before beginning work. The locks come in several designs, including special designs for fluids, electricity, and hydraulics.
Each type of lockout device is created for the securing and closure of one particular type of valve. Some cover the complete valve, thus making sure no one can turn the gas or fluids back on. Another lockout device clamps down over the lever of the valve so the handle can not be moved. The third type of lockout wedges into the opening of the shutoff device to prevent the handle from being pushed down or squeezed to release the liquid.
Although most people believe lockouts would only be used in emergency situations, this is simply not the case. To prevent accidents during routine maintenance in almost any workspace around the world, the lockout devices are set in place before beginning any breakdown or safety check of equipment. The devices are also used during weekend lockdowns in some situations to prevent the illegal use of the machinery while the plant is closed.
Full lockout systems and stations can be found in most large operations, and many of the devices are used weekly. Having the safety equipment on hand is one way the employer can help guarantee their employees are safe.