Safe Isolation and Lock Off Procedures


In the electrical industry, the isolation of electrical machinery is known as ‘lock off’, ‘lock out’ and ‘tagout’ but they all mean the same. There are multiple reasons that an electrician will wish to lock off part of a businesses electrical makeup but the key one is to ensure the health and safety of staff carrying out electrical maintenance tasks. It’s important to ensure the isolation of any unsafe machinery or equipment from potential uncontrolled energy sources during repair, service or testing.

Isolation Rules

Generally, there should be isolation from the power source, usually but not exclusively electrical energy and the isolator should be in a locked position, using a padlock for extra security. A sign should also be placed nearby to indicate that maintenance work is in progress and any stored energy be it hydraulic or pneumatic, must be dispatched before any work begins. The effectiveness of the isolation needs to be tested by a competent person, such as a commercial electrician before any work is completed on the machinery.

Permits to Work

A Permit to Work is a formal, written safe system of work to control these potentially hazardous activities. Permits need to be issued, someone who is not undertaking the maintenance who is also ‘competent’. These documents detail the work to be done and the precautions to be taken such as limiting the movement of overhead cranes or the rescue arrangements necessary if undertaking high voltage work. Most appropriately, permits are employed where a contractor’s work interferes with the normal production activities when work on a plant requires limiting the possible entry of fumes, liquids, steams or gases, or any ‘hot work’ which could cause fire or explosion.

One Way are available to provide safe lock and isolation processes to businesses and ensure that when carrying out the locking process, we use our specialist voltage detection to ensure ultimate safety. For more information call our team on 01782 595 600 today.

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