What You Need to Know About Lockout Tagout Equipment

Lockout tagout equipment is essential for good health and safety practice wherever repairs or maintenance are taking place on potentially dangerous equipment or machinery.  These safety tools are designed to isolate equipment from electrical power sources or from the gas supply, ensuring that machinery cannot be started up while it is being worked on.  Here’s our quick guide to everything you need to know about lockout tagout equipment.


What equipment is available?


Lockout-tagout equipment can take many forms. The most popular are:


Plug box – the plug box is a lockable box that users can simply place around the plug for the equipment they are locking out. It stops anyone from plugging it in and powering the machine up while work is carried out. These plug boxes can be found in a variety of options to suit every size of plug.


Circuit breakers – these lockouts are applied to the fuse box rather than to the equipment itself, allowing for broader isolation of the power.


Panel lockouts – a panel lockout is applied to the electrical panel, and can be used with button or lever types. They fit around the button or lever and are then padlocked – ensuring that the power cannot be activated  prematurely.


Key boxes – these are a different type of lockout: rather than isolating the power supply itself, users collect all the keys that can be used to start the equipment up and then lock them in the box. Power is still available but no one can start the equipment.


Valve lockouts–  are used to prevent people from turning on gas or water supplies when work is being carried out. You can find valve lockouts to suit most different valve types – butterfly, ball, gate, etc.


Cable lockouts  – this type of lockout equipment can be applied to both mechanical and electrical equipment. The cable is passed around the lever or through the switch, pulled tight and then padlocked.


If you have a number of concurrent or very different lockout requirements you should consider a multi-purpose kit or centralized lockout station. A good quality kit will contain all the equipment that you need for most common electrical and mechanical lockouts as well as locks, markers, tags and floor signage. These are usually all supplied in one handy, portable carry-bag. Lockout stations are similarly equipped, but are in a fixed location rather than a bag.


What else do you need?




All the above styles of lockout equipment will need additional padlocks to make them truly secure. You can use any type of padlock (assuming the hasp fits through the lockout equipment holes), although purpose-built locks are superior. These will typically be brightly colored to catch the eye, will be labelled as lockout equipment and might have an area set aside for labelling with the details of who is managing the lockout.




Tags are used to both warn and inform. They will typically have large ‘danger’ or ‘warning’ text and have an area for users to fill out their names, departments and the expected completion time for the work being carried out. The tags are then locked into place with the same padlock being used for the actual lockout. Look out for durable/heavy-duty tags – they will be resistant to water and grease or oil and will not tear away easily (if pulled either accidentally or maliciously).




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