Kevin Ian Schmidt
lock out tag out

LOTO Lock Removal Documentation

As part of a Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) program, there needs to be a process to safely remove lockout devices from equipment without the employee present.

It is not safe to simply remove a lock from equipment that is locked out without following a documented procedure.

In the event of an abandoned lock every avenue must be made to contact the employee and ensure they are not in the workplace. Removing a lockout device prematurely can result in an employee being injured or killed!

Following a documented procedure for this will ensure that no step in the process is missed, which can happen when pressure to re-energize equipment is coming from operations.

No amount of time pressure is worth an employee’s safety!

Abandoned Lockout Lock Removal Process

  • In the event that a LOTO Authorized Person is absent, or otherwise unavailable to remove his or her personal LOTO lock(s), the Responsible Individual (RI) may remove the LOTO lock(s) for the Authorized Person, subject to the restrictions in this section.
  • If a Responsible Individual has not been assigned, then either the absent Authorized Person’s supervisor or the Safety Manager (or his/her designee) may perform the task.
  • The following steps must be taken to remove an absent Authorized Person’s personal LOTO lock(s):
    • Obtain a printed copy of the Absent Authorized Person LOTO Lock Removal Form (see bottom of page).
    • Verify that the absent Authorized Person who applied his or her personal lock(s) is not present at the site.
    • Make all reasonable efforts to inform the absent Authorized Person that his/her lockout or tagout device needs to be removed.
    • Make all reasonable efforts to inform the absent Authorized Person’s supervisor that his/her employee’s lockout or tagout device needs to be removed.
    • Permission to remove an absent Authorized Person’s lock must be obtained from each of the following parties:
      • The absent Authorized Person or the absent Authorized Person’s line management and
      • The RI in charge of the specific LOTO, if assigned; or the Safety Manager
  • After obtaining all required approvals, the RI (or Safety Manager designee if necessary) must remove the lock(s). If present, the Absent Person’s supervisor must physically witness the lock removal and must retain possession of the lock(s).

This policy also needs to include a clause on ensuring the employee is made aware their lock was removed before resuming work. This can be as simple stopping them as they come in the door and inform them this occurred.

It is also important to recertify the employee for performing lockout/tagout before they are allowed to perform it again, as they violated procedure. This level of adherence to the process is important to safety and the OSHA standard.

Do you need more components of a lockout/tagout program?

If you ever have to remove a lockout device, ensure it is fully documented on this form, and retain this form in the employee’s training folder, along with the accompanying recertification form.

  • In the event the key to a lock is lost or misplaced, the lock may be cut by the LOTO Authorized Person after obtaining verbal permission from the Person In Charge of the LOTO.

View the LOTO Lock Removal Documentation below:

LOTO Lock Removal form

Download the LOTO Lock Removal Documentation below:

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