When should you lockout a forklift?

Q:

When should you lockout a forklift?

A:

Before we talk about when you should lockout a forklift, let’s discuss what the term even means.

Locking Out a Forklift

Lockout/tagout refers to the practices and procedures that help protect employees from the unexpected start-up of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during servicing or maintenance.

Lockout devices hold devices in the "off" position and can only be removed by an authorized individual with a key, providing employees with the utmost protection.

Any workplace that has a forklift – even if it's just one – must have written lockout procedures as per OSHA regulations.

So, when is it necessary to lockout a forklift? The procedure must be carried out prior to any employee performing servicing or maintenance on the equipment.

Lockout Procedure

The lockout procedure involves the following steps:

  1. Prepare for shutdown
  2. Shut down the machine
  3. Disconnect or isolate the machine from the energy source
  4. Apply the lockout device to the energy-isolating device
  5. Release, restrain, or otherwise render safe all potential hazardous stored or residual energy
  6. Verify the isolation and de-energization of the machine

Maintenance activities may only begin after these lockout steps have been completed.

Remember that lockout is designed to prevent serious injury due to unexpected start-up or re-energization of a forklift that is undergoing servicing or maintenance. It’s the responsibility of the employer to advise employees of the lockout standard and proper lockout/tagout procedures.

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Written by Jessica Barrett
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Jessica is a freelance writer, editor, and communications consultant. After starting her career in the travel industry, she branched out on her own in 2016 and hasn't looked back since. Jessica is a regular contributor to several websites and works with numerous small businesses and NGOs around the world to craft content for both online and offline platforms. When she isn't writing, you might find her practicing yoga or adventuring (aka eating) her way through a new country.

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