LOTO Safety Requisites Trading LLC

Cable Lockout Vs Alternate Valve Locking Products

OSHA standard OSHA 29 CFR 1910.147 mandates the use of energy restraining and immobilizing devices to prevent workplace accidents. Electrical & Mechanical energies need to be locked and tagged prior to any maintenance being carried out.

When it comes to locking off valves (ie: mechanical energy), there exist a multitude of LOTO devices for immobilizing different types of valves, some of the most common being:

  1. Metal chains.
  2. Plastic Donut shape devices for locking Wheel Valves.
  3. Cable Lockout devices.
  4. Ball & Butterfly valve (Lever) lockout devices.
  5. Plug Valve lockout devices.
  6. Sanitary Valve (dairy & food) lockout devices.

Cable lockout devices are one of the most popular amongst these, being cost efficient and easy-to-deploy and compact vis-à-vis bulky plastic devices or heavy metallic chains.

Think about this: You need to lock 200 – 300 Wheel valves in one section of the plant. You need to evaluate which device offers the best-in-class solution to minimize fatigue and downtime.

  1. Metal Chains 

Advantages: Tamper proof, difficult to cut, extremely secure.

Disadvantages: Heavy, prone to corrosion over time, may need to manually transport them long distances, difficult to handle, high fatigue, blocks considerable storage space.

  1. Donut shape LOTO Devices

Advantages: Tamper resistant, light weight (compared to chains), fast deployment, minimal fatigue.

Disadvantages: Bulky, prone to weathering if deployed for long periods outdoors, blocks considerable storage space.

  1. Cable Lockout Devices

Advantages: Single device can block multiple valve wheels depending on cable length, Tamper resistant, light weight (compared to chains & donut devices), fast deployment, substantial choice of devices, blocks considerably lesser storage space vis-à-vis metal chains and donut devices, minimal fatigue.

Disadvantages: Depending on the type of device used; independent cables which are not tethered to the device may need to be stored separately, prone to weathering if deployed for long periods outdoors.

Let’s say you need to lock 5 valves in close proximity to one another. This means either 5 separate chains or 5 rigid plastic Donut type LOTO devices would have to be individually fixed on each valve.

Enter the Cable Lockout Device – One device with a long cable would be sufficient to block 5 valves close to each other by quickly looping the cable through the wheels, removing slack applying padlocks.

Lockout Tagout is a critical safety procedure during plant maintenance and cable lockout devices are a smart choice when it comes to compliance with the additional advantage of reducing operational downtime.

* The author of this blog is Qaid Zohar – Director at LOTO Safety, Dubai.
This blog is written to educate interested parties on Lockout Tagout products.