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Forklift Safety Tag Lockout Procedures

Filed under: Safety

In the event of a forklift or materials handling unit breaks down it is imperative that operation of the unit ceases immediately.

All breakdowns must be assessed, diagnosed and repaired by a qualified technician with specialist knowledge of the unit.

An imperative but often overlooked part of the forklift breakdown repair procedure is the safety tag lockout procedure.

This blog answers common questions regarding lockout procedures and why they are vitally important.

What is a Safety Tag Lockout?
In summary the most common form of lockout procedure is when a unit has broken down unit operation ceases and a qualified technician inspects the unit to diagnose the faults and best remedy.

If the repair cannot be fixed on the spot for reasons such as replacement parts need to be ordered a lockout safety tag is attached to the forklift in a clearly visible position, commonly on the steering wheel for forklifts or on handles of warehouse equipment.

forklift safety danger lockout tag

Attachment of the tag to the unit immediately removes it from service till the problem has been 100% rectified by the technician.

Why is Safety Tag Lockout so Important?
Due to the size, weight and load carrying abilities of forklifts and materials handling units, when operated whilst faulty they are a high risk to employee safety.

In the worst case scenario they can severely or fatally injure an employee.

As well as employee safety an unsafe unit can also cause product, plant and other asset damage if they fail.

Where safety is concerned it is imperative no chances are taken, the safety tag lockout procedure immediately identifies risks and mitigates them until the unit can be safely repaired by a trained technician.

What Needs to Be Recorded On The Tag and in a Lockout Situation?
Precise information must be recorded on the tag.

Necessary information recorded on the tag includes:

  • Name of technician locking out unit
  • Date and Time of lock out
  • Clear description of fault and reason why unit has been locked out

forklift safety lockout tag required information

In addition to the above information recorded on the tag there are some additional records that are in best practice recorded by both locking out technicians and unit owner’s, these include:

  • The locked out units rating plate with serial number
  • Any distinguishing unit ID particularly if the unit is part of a fleet of multiple similar units
  • Date stamped photographs clearly showing the lockout tag affixed to the unit

With the above additional information technicians and unit owners are safeguarding themselves from potential liabilities if the unit is operated whilst locked out.

The rating plate with serial no. and any unit ID clearly distinguish which unit has been locked out with no opportunity to pass it off as another unit if an employee is caught operating the locked out unit.

The date stamped photograph of the unit with the lockout tag is clear evidence the tag was in place and the unit locked out in the event the tag is removed by someone other than the repairing technician. 

When Can a Tag Be Removed and By Whom?
A safety lockout tag may only be removed by the original technician who locked the unit out of service.

The tag may only be removed once any necessary repairs have been completed and the technician has verified the unit is fully repaired and safe to resume normal operations.

What happens if a Locked out Unit is Operated and an Accident Occurs?
In the event a locked out unit is operated by an employee and an accident or injury occurs there are a number of company and legal based punishments that may occur.

Depending on individual company policies regarding workplace injury or death responsible employees may be internally disciplined, suspend or even dismissed from their employment.

Where accidents occur state based Worksafe organisations will investigate the circumstances surrounding the injury or death.

As a result of these investigations if it has been found that a clear breach of the lockout safety procedure has occurred and a faulty unit has caused injury or death the individual and/or company may face legal prosecution resulting in fines or possibly even incarceration dependant on liability.

To assist companies with the implementation of a safety tag lockout system Adaptalift offer a range of high quality lockout tags.

Adaptalift forklift lockout safety tags

Tag features include:

  • Pre-cut hole at the top of the tag allows for attachment to machinery via string or zip tie
  • Writable surface on both sides to record important information such as: date, time, job description and responsible employee
  • 250gsm thick cardboard prevents tags being damaged from moderate rough handling
  • Hi Vis colours for maximum visibility

Tags can be purchased in packs of 100 with flat rate fast shipping Australia wide from our online store.

Published By: Paul Hinz

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