October 25, 2021

Top tips to improve your food manufacturing lock-out tag-out programme

Recent evidence has suggested that companies and people working in the food manufacturing industry are being told they must pay closer attention to how they manage workplace health risks, or they could be subject to severe consequences. Having a lock-out tag-out programme is extremely important in all food manufacturing trade companies, in order to ensure that dangerous machines are properly shut off once work is complete. The procedure is also used to ensure that machines are unable to restart prior to the completion of work.

To keep this procedure as up to date and therefore as safety conscious as possible, there are some tips to consider: 

  1. Purchase the right products
  • The effectiveness of a lockout tagout procedure depends strongly on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the devices you choose. Because of the broad nature of the types of machinery that may require a LOTO device, there are also a vast array of potential products. In this instance, it’s true that knowledge is power, it’s important to know exactly what you need, in order to ensure both cost effectivity, and complete safety satisfaction. Start by making a list of every piece of machinery that needs a LOTO product, this will help with the purchasing aspect. If you’re still unsure on exactly what you need, Reece Safety offer a lockout review, free of charge. This includes a full analysis of the workplace in terms of LOTO, product selection and implementation support.
  1. Keep LOTO procedures efficient
  • It’s important to remember that, in order for LOTO procedures to be effective, they need to be correctly implemented, and consistent across the workplace. It’s important to keep access to tools and equipment directly to hand, as this reduces the risk of safety processes being relaxed, or not followed properly. It is often observed that in a workplace, if something is not easily accessible, it is more likely to be forgotten about. Therefore, it is paramount that the appropriate LOTO equipment, and the correlating instructions, are to hand for each piece of machinery, in order to eliminate excuses when it comes to following safety procedure.
  1. Have a designated safety team
  • As per LOTO guidelines, training should be implemented annually as a minimum. It’s important that each and every member of staff knows their role in terms of LOTO, and if it is their duty to implement these procedures. The easiest way to do this is to have a designated trained safety team, be it team leaders or specific members of staff. Designated members of staff must also be made clear to the rest of the team, communication is paramount when it comes to safety. This particular system means that only designated LOTO implementers can place and remove LOTO devices, avoiding any confusion.
  1. Constantly strive for improvement
  • Document everything. Recording exactly what types of training members of staff have had, along with when, is important to keep on top of LOTO knowledge. That way any gaps in training can be fixed quickly and effectively. It’s also important to document the success of the safety procedures, how smoothly does it run? Have there been any incidents? If so when, how and most importantly why did this happen? It’s important to constantly revisit safety procedures to keep them up to date and to let them evolve as the industry and its guidelines evolve. After all, safety in the workplace is paramount, and everything that can possibly be done to ensure this, should be.