Monday, June 16, 2014

Interlocks are NOT a Replacement for Lockout


We often hear the misconception of people who believe entering a hazard zone through an interlocked gate is as effective as machine lockout. Interlocking is a very effective way to allow safe access to a hazardous area, however it is not a replacement for proper machine lockout. It is important that you understand the differences.


Purposes of Interlocking Guards:

  1. Allow easy access to an area without having to physically remove a guard using tools,
  2. Ensures guards are in place before a machine can be started. If a guard needs to be removed frequently, replacement of the guard is not forgotten, or
  3. Allows access to a hazardous area for normal operation purposes, such as loading or unloading a machine.

interlock switches

Purposes of Machine Lockout:

  1. Scheduled and unplanned maintenance,
  2. Cleaning equipment,
  3. Clearing jams, and
  4. Machine set ups.

 machine lockout

Why are Interlocks Inferior to Lockout:

  1. Interlocks may not be tied into all energy sources, often they only cut off electrical power,
  2. Interlocks do not bleed off residual energy inside the machine,
  3. Another person may close an interlocked gate while someone is inside and start up the machine,
  4. There is no verification that the power is off.


Ensure that you and your employees understand the differences between interlocks and proper machine lockout. If you have any question or concerns about your lockout policy, give us a call.


Posted by Kristin Petaski at 7:00 PM 0 Comments
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