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Let’s Box & Roll

A Paperboard and Packaging Blog
by PaperWorks

Lockout Tagout – More than just a lock!

LOTO lock in machinery
The picture details a group lock for multiple PaperWorks team members performing work on a de-energized piece of equipment

What is lockout tagout and why is it so important? Lockout/tagout (LOTO) is a set of procedures used to ensure that equipment is shut down, inoperable, and (where relevant) de-energized. This allows maintenance and repair work on the system to be performed safely.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) there have been thirty-five injuries in 2022 directly related to Lock-out Tag-out failures and three of those were fatalities1. The goal for all PaperWorks team members is to go home the same way they come to work: safely. At PaperWorks, there are seven steps to LOTO for securing equipment:

  1. NOTIFY – Notify all affected team members that you will be conducting a lockout/tagout.
  2. PREPARE – Before you begin, be sure you know all the types of energy involved, hazards presented by energy, and how to control the energy.
  3. SHUTDOWN – Turn off machine or equipment.
  4. ISOLATE – Isolate machine or equipment from its energy source(s). (For example, turn off main circuit breaker.)
  5. LOCKOUT – apply your assigned lock. Be sure that it holds the isolating device in the “off” or “safe” position.
  6. RELEASE – Release stored energy. Relieve, disconnect, restrain, block, or otherwise ensure all energy sources – electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, compressed, etc. – are de-energized.
  7. VERIFY – Try the on-off switch or other controls to be sure the machine won’t start. Return the switch to the “off” position.
LOTO, Lockout-tagout, locks
The different types of locks used at the Wabash Mill

Green locks are for production team members

Black locks are for managers

Red locks are long term locks

Orange locks are for maintenance team members

Purple locks are for supervisors


At PaperWorks, our core values are Safety, Transparency, and Community. We believe a safe place to work is essential for all team members. One of the most important safety precautions in any workplace is ensuring a LOTO process is in place and team members are well-trained. Our families depend on it.


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