A valve lockout device is used to prevent the unauthorised pressurisation of an air / gas system during repair or maintenance work. When a valve lockout is in place and is locked in a closed position, the system cannot be operated and no air or gas pressure can be applied.
What are the risks if a valve lockout is not used?
Locking the valve will help protect workers from being exposed and becoming seriously injured while they are repairing or maintain equipment. If the worker is inside a machine or hidden from view then a valve lockout will prevents colleagues from accidentally starting the equipment and exposing the workers. It is a health and safety requirement for companies to protect their workers and failure to do so can result in serious consequences. For the worker it could result in death, and for the employer it could result in a prison sentence.
What lockout valves are available?
Valve lockout devices allow the user to shut off many kinds of pressured valves.
There are several different types of valve lockouts available, and these include:
- Adjustable Gate Valve Lockout
- Ball Valve Lockout
- Universal Ball Lockout
- Butterfly Valve Lockout
- Colour Coded Ball Valve Lockout
- Universal Valve Lockout
- Gas / Cylinder Valve Lockout
It is also possible to purchase kits that include all of these different types. A valve lockout kit would give greater flexibility and help to be prepared for different situations.
What are the differences?
Gate Valve Lockout
The gate valve lockout completely covers the valve, preventing access. They consist of 2 half-moons, and are hinged at one side. These are placed over the valve, closed and then locked off using padlocks.
Ball Valve Lockout
The ball valve lockout attaches over the valve lever via a clamp. This is designed to secure the lever and stop the valve from moving.
Universal Ball Valve Lockout
The universal ball valve lockout is a universal version of the above ball valve lockout. It is adjustable to fit a variety of ball valves and pipes. It keeps the ball valve closed to prevent any accidental reactivation, locking on either an open or closed position.
Colour Coded Ball Valve Lockout
Colour coded ball valve lockouts are the same as the standard ball valve lockouts but they are coloured for easier identification and based on contents of the valve.
The 4 colours available are red, yellow, blue and green. These are based on UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) requirements, and also the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), as per the following:
- Red – Used for hazardous flammable materials
- Yellow – Inherently hazardous materials, take precautions
- Blue – Inherently low hazard gases, still a need for protection
- Green – Inherently low hazard liquids, no danger
A butterfly lockout will lockout devices in a similar manner to the ball valve lockout, although instead of the devices clamping over the valve lever, there is wedge that secures itself between the lever and the compression handle. This wedge is designed to stop the handle from being used to operate the valve.
Universal Valve Lockout
The universal valve lockout is versatile and perfect for locking out all types of standard valves with a single device. They are rugged and designed to handle extra impact and resist chemicals, making them an ideal choice for most environments.
Gas / Cylinder Valve Lockout
Cylinder valve lockouts prevent access to the main valve handle on many cylinder tanks. They do this by surrounding gas valve handles, protecting against the accidental opening of the valve. Gas valve lockouts are designed to withstand extreme temperature conditions and harsh chemicals.
Most also come complete with permanent, high visibility safety labels
Valve Lockout Kit
A valve lockout kit can contains all of the above lockouts and more, and is usually supplied in a case or bag for portability. These kits contain everything needed for lockout solutions, and are a comprehensive way to comply with health and safety regulations and company lockout procedures.
Because of the portability, these kits would also be suitable for field maintenance engineers who may be required to visit different sites with different equipment. Spare parts can also be ordered to compliment existing kits.