Using NFC validates isolation/restoration is ensured to make it the safest methodology and the mobile app can substitute the Verification roles, which reduces the time to do a shutdown or startup.
Industrial plant shutdowns/startups are handled by maintenance/operations personnel and contractors. The service and maintenance activities that follow the shutdown/start-up processes represent the highest risk that leads to accidents.
One-Touch Lock-Out (OTLO) is an NFC-based equipment lock-out system that will achieve an accident-free work environment for tradesmen and contractors engaged in maintenance and service activities. NFC technology can validate in real-time all lock-out/tag-outs (LOTO) functions are completed and ensure that isolation/restoration procedures are done in the safest sequence. OTLO will notify a staff member if they have gone to equipment item in the wrong order and will stop any data update until they follow the correct sequence. As well, the staff member must confirm the equipment item is in the correct position when it is locked or tagged out by taking a photo. The bottom line is production downtime and liabilities are reduced.
OTLO will be designed to incorporate a plant’s best practices for equipment lock-out/tag-outs and isolation/hazardous energy removal.Who it Benefits?
Companies that want to do safe equipment lock-out/tag-out procedures in an efficient manner.
What are the Existing System Issues?
Industrial plants will need to do Preventive Maintenance (PM) and Corrective Maintenance (CM) activities which will require a shutdown of the whole plant or areas of the plant. Maintenance and Operations staff will carry out manual lock-out and tag-out (LOTO) procedures using paper-based checklists. With a paper-based system, all procedures are under the control of the employee.
These LOTO activities are dependent on the staff being experienced and knowledgeable with the equipment they are assigned. As well, staff are supposed to comply with the isolation steps to eliminate different types of hazardous energy during a shutdown and then comply with the restoration steps to properly establish the energy upon start-up. These are critical safety procedures, hence they send out Verifiers to check if the LOTOs are correct because there is a history of errors being done due to these issues:
- Lack of effective isolation/restoration procedures
- Equipment not positioned correctly before the lock-out or tag-out function
- Wrong use of locks
- Wrong use of tags
- Not identifying all energy sources
- Lack of training
What are the Benefits?
- Managing Lock-Outs/ Tag-Outs efficiently and provide the results in real time to supervisors and management.
- Avoid fines for procedural errors or accidents.
- Less downtime associated with shutdowns/startups because OTLO does not require a Verifier role for every Lock-Out/ Tag-Out role. A single Verifier would be observing all results presented on a central server.
- Management reports and historical data to assist in process improvement efforts.