Lockout/Tagout Procedures Improve Productivity

  • Feb 13, 2023, 15:49 PM
Many facilities start with the intention of staying compliant with their lockout/tagout procedures. As time goes on, however, the staff get busy.

Equipment changes, new employees come on board, and, suddenly, it has been years since they last updated their lockout/tagout procedures. As a result, they are no longer compliant because they just don’t have the time to audit every piece of equipment and develop new lockout/tagout procedures.

Does this scenario sound familiar?

If so, you aren’t alone. Lockout/tagout is the number one most cited regulation in the manufacturing industry. Moreover, it’s in the top 10 most cited regulations across all sectors.

OSHA developed lockout/tagout guidelines to ensure that manufacturing and other facilities provided a safe working environment to all employees by controlling hazardous energy during equipment servicing and maintenance. With compliant lockout/tagout procedures in place, you can reduce the number of workplace injuries that occur in your facility every year. In addition, staying compliant with lockout/tagout procedures will benefit your business in tangible ways by improving productivity.

How Lockout/Tagout Procedures Improve Productivity 

Even though some companies may regard updating their lockout/tagout procedures as a time sink, the truth is that going through the process will end up saving you time and money in the long run.

Reduce downtime

When you have a straightforward lockout/tagout procedure in place, you can minimize downtime every time a machine needs servicing. In addition, authorized employees will know precisely what they need to do to work efficiently and spend their time focusing on servicing the machine instead of figuring out the logistics of how to lock out and tag out the piece of equipment.

Save on labor time and costs

The longer it takes to service a machine, the more money your company spends without getting anything in return. In addition to reducing the time drain on your authorized employees who are trained for lockout/tagout, having clear lockout/tagout procedures in place will save labor costs on employees forced to stop working on a piece of equipment during servicing.

Reduce production delays

Long production delays can also lead to you paying more on shipping and logistics if your equipment requires unexpected servicing or if the downtime happens during a critical point in your process.

As you can see, the costs of downtime can quickly add up. Having clear lockout/tagout procedures in place will save you money because it will save your employees’ time. The total amount of money you will save with a straightforward lockout/tagout procedure in place will depend on how much you are paying an employee, plus how much production minutes cost in your facility.

With regular lockout/tagout procedure updates, companies notice a significant return on investment in as little as a few months. The great thing is that your ROI will continue to increase as time goes on, making the time you invest in creating and implementing lockout/tagout procedures well worth it in the end

Lockout/Tagout Doesn't Take as Long as You Think 

We hear from clients that they don’t have the time to create, implement, or update their lockout/tagout procedures. Or when they do write the procedures themselves, they miss an energy source because they are not specialists in this area.  

We can tell you that lockout/tagout doesn’t take as long as you think it does.

Take an example from a North Carolina-based company that involved all stakeholders in creating a lockout/tagout procedure. By collaborating with stakeholders from different departments, the company developed a comprehensive lockout/tagout procedure that involved textual messaging and visual imagery.

They went from not having any lockout/tagout procedures to being fully compliant with OSHA regulations in just one week. That one week of putting in the work was well worth it to minimize downtime and improve safety for all of their employees. Now, the company has a comprehensive lockout/tagout process that engages workers and supervisors, enhances productivity, and achieves safety for authorized employees.

Need Help with Your Lockout/Tagout Process? Let's Talk 

We know that time is always in short supply, which is why we work with companies across industries to create, implement, and execute lockout/tagout procedures.

SMC can perform a detailed review of your current lockout/tagout program, including compiling a comprehensive list of all equipment that needs lockout/tagout. From there, we can work with you to create a fully customized and compliant lockout/tagout program that works for your business. The length of time needed depends on the site and number of procedures required.

We can also help you implement an annual lockout/tagout audit to enable you remain compliant. To get started, contact us.

Learn more about SMC's Lockout/Tagout service here! 

Article Source: Rockwell Automation