How Thermosafety can improve LOTO

The LOTO procedure was developed by health and safety specialists based on analyses of thousands of machine accidents. At first glance, it would seem to guarantee total worker safety. However, the weakest link in the procedure was and is the person applying it. For this reason, it cannot be considered fully safe.
Green lock in LOTO procedure

Steps of the LOTO procedure

Proper implementation of the LOTO procedure takes time. The whole procedure consists of several steps that should not be overlooked or treated selectively. The first one is to notify the machine’s operator of the planned shutting down. Afterward, the machine can be secured and shut down in a controlled manner.

Once the machine is completely immobilized, one proceeds to eliminate further potential sources of danger. Potentially dangerous energy sources are disconnected, capacitors are discharged, compressed air is released and the operator waits for hot machine parts to cool down.

In the next step, the possibility of switching on power sources gets blocked. Pendant locks, or padlocks, characteristic of the procedure, are used for this purpose. The padlocks can have different colors, depending on their meaning, but all must be signed with the name of the person authorized to remove them. Involving several people in this task is aimed at mutual control to guarantee the procedure’s reliability and safety.

The last step before starting service work is to make sure that there are no bystanders in the working area. It is also necessary to check that the possibility of switching on the machine’s normal operation has been eliminated.

After finishing work on the machine, the crew should be notified of its planned startup. Before removing the locks, the engineer must again check if there are no bystanders in the machine’s working area.

Where can negligence occur?

Professionals are aware that during work on the inside of a broken machine, they are in a situation of imminent danger to health and/or life. Therefore, they should follow all the steps of the LOTO procedure all the more zealously. Nevertheless, human nature gets in the way of the procedure’s reliability. The reasons for skipping certain steps can be as mundane as they are deadly:

  • haste, i.e., the desire to speed up the work and, thus, complete it more quickly;
  • inadequate training;
  • poor work organization, such as lack of appropriate equipment;
  • error, such as overlooking some potential sources of danger;
  • shortage of equipment.

Human dependence – the weak link in the LOTO procedure.

As a result, almost every step of LOTO is subject to the risk of error and negligence. As a result, various accidents can occur:

  • minor, such as bruises, cuts, and burns from a heated machine component;
  • more serious, such as electrocution or fractures;
  • or fatal, such as being dragged inside an operating machine or struck by a moving machine component.
Inżynier obsługujący ramię robotyczne

Thermosafety is ready to prevent the worst-case scenario

Can Thermosafety’s safety system eliminate the risk of a fatal accident related to error or negligence? It can, because it does allow the machine to start when there is a person in the danger zone. Consequently, if the machine starts operating while being serviced, the system will immediately stop it. After all, Thermosafety’s response time is less than 100 ms.

The safety system installed in the machine observes the working area and distinguishes humans from the rest of the environment. The machine will not start when a human is in a designated danger zone. Regardless of whether:

  • they received proper training;
  • they have thoroughly checked the entire interior of the machine and the surrounding area (especially the areas not visible from the machine’s starting point);
  • they are not in a hurry;
  • they perform the subsequent steps of the LOTO procedure methodically;
  • they remember to block and secure all sources of danger;
  • they have the necessary set of equipment to correctly implement the LOTO procedure;
  • the machine is complicated;
  • getting to the sources of danger is difficult.

If you would like to learn more about Thermosafety’s applications or see how we can improve safety in your factory, then please contact us. We will be happy to get back to you and schedule a demo at your factory.