While in Louisville, KY after the #SMRP19 conference, I took a tour of the Angel’s Envy bourbon distillery and was thrilled not only by their fine bourbon finished in port wine barrels but by their attention to safety and unique promotion of safety all around their clean facility. Their clever “Heaven can wait. Safety first” statement obviously applies to all maintenance activities but in this particular case, shown in my photo, it was used to emphasize the importance of lock-out and tag-out procedures, also known throughout our industry as LOTO.
Unlike ultrasound testing, acoustic lubrication or vibration analysis, all of which check machine or facilities condition while up and running, alignment and balancing require machines to be shut down and properly locked out, to adhere to all safety regulations. Only then can the components be mounted on the shafts. This ensures the safe rotation of the shafts and alignment corrections to be made without risk of injury to maintenance personnel.
I can’t stress enough the importance of safety during service or maintenance of machines and encourage you to develop more ingenious slogans like “Heaven can wait. Safety first” to draw more attention to this important concern within your plant.
Here are the six steps to follow for proper LOTO per OSHA 3120:
1. Prepare for shutdown;
2. Shut down the machine;
3. Disconnect or isolate the machine from the energy source(s);
4. Apply the lockout or tag-out device(s) to the energy-isolating device(s);
5. Release, restrain, or otherwise render safe all potential hazardous stored or residual energy. If a possibility exists for reaccumulation of hazardous energy, regularly verify during the service and maintenance that such energy has not reaccumulated to hazardous levels; and,
6. Verify the isolation and deenergization of the machine.
A personal note for Bourbon lovers: if you haven’t already, try pairing dark orange chocolate with your favorite bourbon, what a delicious combination! Heaven can wait. Please drink responsibly.