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A lockout-tagout system ensures industrial equipment stays safe when it is not in operation.

So, should an engineer or maintenance staff attend to a piece of machinery, this system ensures the machine is completely shut off and that all potentially hazardous power sources are isolated.

Below, we discuss what lockout-tagout is, its steps, and the place lockout-tagout labels have in the process.

Lockout-Tagout Definition

Before explaining the procedure, it’s important to know what is meant by “lockout” and “tagout”.

Lockout/Tagout refers to the prevention of turning on a machine by employees or persons. This is done by a series of locks, as well as a procedure which completely shuts said machine down.

The lock, or tagout device, indicates that the equipment being controlled may not be operated until the device has been unlocked and removed.

The Lockout-Tagout Steps

Sometimes, an engineer has to perform maintenance on a machine they have never seen before. This can happen on any day at any time, so there is a possibility that nobody on-site can help said engineer negotiate the complex machine and keep them safe.

Lockout-tagout steps mean an engineer can follow a standardised, specific series of actions to stay safe. These steps are as follows:

  • Draft equipment procedures – A detailed, step-by-step procedure should be in writing discussing the equipment’s location and its energy sources.

 

  • Inform staff – Staff should be aware of where, when, and at what exact time maintenance will be occurring. Not only does this allow staff to stay in the loop, but it ensures that the equipment isn’t accidentally turned on at any point.

 

  • Explain equipment shutdown – Explain the shutdown process in minute detail. This step is essential – it must not contain any generalisations and it must explain every part of the shutdown in a detailed fashion.

 

  • Explain the disconnection of primary energy sources – Be as detailed as possible. Generalisations, once again, are not acceptable in this step. Explain how primary energy sources – electricity, steam, water, gas, compressed air, etc. – can be disconnected according to the procedure.

 

  • Explain the disconnection of secondary energy sources – As above, explain how to disconnect secondary energy sources. Trapped heat, fumes or tension in springs all have an element of danger, so explain the process of releasing pressure and residual energy from the equipment’s system.

 

  • Lockout/Tagout – Once the above steps are complete, double-check all of the above has been tended to and then lockout/tagout the equipment. There should be as many locks on the system as there are people working on it, so if there are four engineers performing maintenance, then four locks should be used. Only one key should be in circulation, too. Finally, apply an appropriate lockout/tagout tag.

 

  • Verify the lockout – Verify that the system is locked out. There are several methods to do this, including engaging the machine's buttons to test the response, visual inspection of electrical connections, valves, etc. and direct testing of the equipment while checking temperature gauges, pressure gauges and circuitry by a qualified electrician.

 

  • Perform maintenance – Once the maintenance has been completed, undo the locks and/or tagout tags. Ensure the work area has no tools or items left behind, confirm that all persons are away from hazardous areas, check whether controls are in a neutral position, remove devices and, finally, re-energise the equipment. As a final step, notify employees that maintenance has been completed.

What Does the Law Say?

According to the Provision of Work Equipment Regulations:

“Every employer shall ensure, that where appropriate, work equipment is provided with suitable means to isolate it from all its sources of energy.”

As for employers, the regulation states:

“every employer shall take appropriate measures to ensure that reconnection of any energy source to work equipment does not expose any person using the equipment to any risk to his health or safety.”

Get Your Lockout-Tagout Labels Here

Lockout-tagout requires the use of plastic lockout tags to convey information and ensure the above steps are followed.

All of our range complies with the latest regulations, so browse our lockout products today.

We have officially joined The British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF), the leading trade body for the safety industry in the UK.

Founded in 1994, the BSIF is the leading association for the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Directive, as well as being recognised as a “competent authority” by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE). This means the BSIF has active links with the government and over 130 trading bodies.

We’re set to join its 210 members from across the length and breadth of manufacturing and distribution of safety-related products.

What Does This Mean For Us?

For us, our membership with the BSIF means we are now officially recognised for applying the most current of health and safety guidelines to our product ranges. This includes standard products, bespoke customer designs and everything in between.

This means customers like you can enjoy peace of mind that we comply with current regulations.

The BSIF is a key independent voice, and its association with us is a major sign of trust. Through the BSIF, we are able to demonstrate the following qualities:

  • A commitment to safety and ethics in our industry.
  • By working with other members of the BSIF, we can deliver enhanced safety messages as well as see more opportunities to develop the market.
  • Attain support from the BSIF in exports, activities, networking and exhibitions, especially through UKT&I schemes.

Overall, this collaboration means we will be able to provide the best products to those who matter: our customers.

Discover More About Label Source

Find out more about Label Source here. To keep up with the latest signs, labels and health and safety news, be sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter.

Fluorescent tapes are used in workplaces for the marking of equipment, buildings, aisles, corridors, etc. Depending on the place of work, they are either used sparingly or are essential to maintaining safety or general organisation.

Whether they’re a regular part of your workplace or a novel addition, we break down how, where and when to use fluorescent tapes.

How to Use Fluorescent Tapes

Fluorescent tapes are vividly coloured and self-adhesive, making them suitable at marking equipment, hazard identification, and building fixtures, aisles, corridors, staircases, barriers, etc.

Namely, these fluorescent tapes are ideal for highlighting key areas. However, tapes need to be placed and applied properly in order to function well.

Proper use of fluorescent tapes depends on whether they are being used on equipment or marking hazards and fixtures.

Using Fluorescent Tapes on Equipment and Fixtures

When marking equipment, fixtures or hazards follow these guidelines:

  • Place the reflective tape near the left or right outside edges of equipment so they can easily be seen. For fixtures and hazards, ensure the tape is placed in an area that can easily be seen from all angles.
  • Tape should be placed on the extreme projections of larger equipment too, to ensure that it can be seen.
  • Ensure the tape is affixed properly, firmly and neatly. Having tape that isn’t affixed or at obtuse angles can make them difficult to see.
  • The tape used to highlight hazards should be accompanied by appropriate safety signage.

Overall, you want equipment to be seen easily when using fluorescent tapes. Not only does it need to be seen by people on foot, but giving plenty of notice to fast-moving vehicles also needs to be considered.

Where and When to Use Fluorescent Tapes

Fluorescent tapes can be used in a variety of industries, namely:

  • Agriculture – Fluorescent tapes are often used on farm equipment such as tractors and other mobile equipment, especially considering that the majority of a farmer’s work starts at dawn.
  • Staging and events – Most stage-based events need proper marking, meaning fluorescent tapes can be used to signpost equipment, key points on the stage, or aisles between spectator seating.
  • Factories – Equipment, hallways and shelves can be marked in factories to ensure they remain identifiable.
  • Roadworks – Roadworks can rely on fluorescent tapes on equipment so they remain visible to drivers.

Stock Up on Fluorescent Tapes

Looking for fluorescent gaffer tape? Then check out the full range from Label Source. We stock a wide array of tapes, including orange, yellow, red, blue, green and pink colours.

tape-applicator

Marking floors is made easy with a tape applicator and dispenser, but its efficiency, effectiveness and safe use rely on a person using it properly.

Lots of places of work rely on the correct marking of floors to keep things running. Factories, for example, rely on properly marked flaws to help manage forklift traffic and organisation of employees.

With just a few rolls of tape, a disorganised factory floor can become an inch-perfect workplace optimised for safety and efficiency.

Below, we discuss the uses for automatic tape dispensers, as well as how to use a tape applicator properly.

How to Use A Tape Applicator

To use a floor tape applicator, you must first apply self-adhesive floor tape to the sticker dispenser. Make sure it is placed properly before then using the tape on sealed floor surfaces. Never use the applicator on floors which are not sealed as this will lead to tape that is poorly affixed to the floor.

Essentially, floor tape applicators should be used on warehouse floors, aisles, clean corridors and assembly and sports halls.

Following the placement of the tape to the dispenser, simply press down on the handle and walk slowly and steadily in a straight line to ensure the tape sticks to the floor and remains neat.

Why Businesses Use Floor Tape Applicators

Businesses use floor tape applicators for a number of reasons, but the major motivation for businesses applying lines and stickers over their floors is to streamline and organise the workplace. For some businesses, it is essential to maximising efficiencies.

If places like factories had no floor organisation, they would be akin to chaos. Floor markings are a cost-effective option to shore up the long-term maintenance of walking traffic, as well as segregate two lanes of traffic for vehicles.

Floor markings can also synergise with safety symbols, meaning they can be an essential tool in workplaces having effective safety protocols.

Find Your New Tape Applicator Today

Considering a tape applicator? Then browse the range of tape applicators and dispensers here at Label Source.

 

ergonomics-in-workplace

When you think of workplace efficiency, what comes to mind? Workdays filled with little procrastination, economical meetings and attentive staff are some common images and ideals businesses strive for, but how is this achieved?

Commonly, the best way to facilitate efficiency is to focus on the small things: workspaces, seating and, often forgotten, general signs. Here, we discuss how general signs can improve in-work ergonomics and performance.

What is Ergonomics?

Ergonomics is a broad term, but principally, it is the scientific practice of identifying interactions between humans and other elements in a working system.

To break the word down to its bare components, it means “science of work”; overall, ergonomics is about facilitating efficiencies and maintaining long-term health.

Ergonomics can refer to a wide spectrum of alterations to the working environment: chairs, desks, mouse positions, promoting good posture, facilitating in-work exercise, labelling, etc.

Most importantly, ergonomics is not a one-size-fits-all practice. An office, for example, consists of macro and micro-ergonomics. It’s the design of buildings, the organisation of our workspaces and the distance of monitors from our eyes; ergonomics refers to both big and small work-based situations.

If done properly, ergonomics can:

  • lower business costs
  • improve productivity
  • better quality of product or service
  • better employee attitudes
  • provide a safer working environment

How to Improve Workplace Ergonomics

To be an ergonomic workplace, you don’t have to invest in the latest technology – nobody expects every workplace to have desk treadmills or bikes. Sometimes, little changes complemented by finely-tuned systems and procedures are all a business needs.

One method of improving in-work efficiency and ergonomics is the use of general signs. General signs are ideal for office and retail environments, but each can have a key place in improving the functions of a workplace, workspace and how co-workers interact with each other.

A few examples include:

  • Office, Retail and Housekeeping Signs – These include health and safety posters, private property signs, warning signs, signs which delegate rooms and areas, and disclaimer notices.
  • Engraved Plastic Signs – Identifies rooms, facilities and restricted areas. Helps to manage workplaces and keep people traffic organised.
  • Public Area Signs – Customer-facing public signs which manage customer traffic and ensure there is segregation between employee and customer spaces.
  • Metal Door Plates – Signposts doors and entryways, including safety-related terms such as “Mind Your Step”, “Mind Your Head” and “No Exit”.

How Ergonomics Improves Work Performance

A successful ergonomic change is measured by improved productivity, efficiency, safety and quality of a worker’s day-to-day existence. Not only does ergonomics improve in-work performance, but it makes employees happier outside of the workplace, too, by reducing the prevalence of MSDs, improving mental health and, as consequence, their quality of life.

However, strictly in terms of work performance, ergonomics broadly improves the following:

  • Reduction in costs – By directly reducing risk factors, a business is able to reduce the prevalence of injury and Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs). In the UK, 498,000 workers suffered from work-related MSDs in 2018/19, leading to 6.9 million lost working days. The most direct way to prevent these is through ergonomics, leading to more working days, less time off sick and, in business terms, a better bottom line.
  • Improvement to work quality – Work quality is what suffers most when workers are overworked or under non-ergonomic conditions. If workers are feeling physically and mentally under strain, all training is rendered useless – the end product will not be as good as it could be.
  • Improvement in productivity – Ergonomics is directly tied to efficiency. Even the laziest, least efficient worker in a business will perform better in a well-optimised workspace with good posture compared to a workspace that flies in the face of good ergonomic practice. A 2007 study in the European Journal of Social Sciences, titled Productivity and Ergonomics: A Strong Relationship Leading to Best Working Results, revealed a strong relationship between ergonomics and total productivity, thus scientifically proving that the usage of ergonomic productivity saw a statistical increase in productivity.
  • Better employee-employer relationships – Employees notice a lot, so concerted efforts to improve workplace conditions for them will be rewarded with better work, behaviour and, most importantly, the employee-employer relationship.

How General Signs Promote Better Workplace Ergonomics

So, how do signs and labels play into workplace ergonomics? Essentially, signs and labels can help remind and educate employees on how to properly undertake correct form, processes and posture during work.

For example, there are numerous back safety and lifting signs and labels that not only improve productivity but also reduce the possibility of injury. Other signs can be used to remind employees on how to sit properly, poster-style resources to educate employees, as well as safety-related signs to prevent head injuries for example.

Overall, health and safety, and by extension labels, are interwoven with ergonomics as they keep employees safe, healthy and performing well.

Organise Your Workspace With General Signs

To give your workspace an ergonomic boost to productivity and work quality, consider our range of general signs. These signs help to keep workplaces organised and functioning fluidly.