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5 Considerations When Selecting Your Safety Padlocks

With so many hardware options available for your lockout tagout program, it can be hard to know which padlock is right for your specific situation. Add on the complexities of managing lockout tagout programs for multiple departments or facilities and the options can be downright overwhelming.

To help you sort through the confusion, we’ve developed a list of important considerations when selecting your lockout tagout padlocks.

Finding the right padlock material type

The first step is to find the right padlock type for your specific application. There are three material options to consider:

Brady Lockout Tagout Nylon Padlock

Nylon padlocks

Nylon padlocks have a lightweight nylon body with either a steel or nylon shackle that's ideal for industrial environments. The nylon padlocks with nylon shackle are plastic, non-conductive and non-sparking making it great for electrical and indoor applications.

Compact padlocks are also available for smaller spaces. The extremely compact and lightweight design with non-conductive and non-sparking nylon shackle is ideal for small spaces for electrical contractors, maintenance and electricians.

Brady Lockout Tagout Aluminum Padlock

Aluminum padlocks

The aluminum padlock with steel shackle provides both corrosion resistance, as well as added durability for tougher industrial environments and outdoor use.

Brady Lockout Tagout Steel Padlock

Steel padlocks

Steel padlocks are made with reinforced laminated steel that withstands severe physical abuse and a hardened steel shackle with individually coated body plates for superior rust protection.

Organizing your hardware with color-coding, engraving or lock labels

Color-coding, engraving or lock labels are some of the ways larger organizations communicate the status of machine maintenance, reduce losses and ensure they are compliant. Learn more about how each approach may benefit your lockout tagout program:

Brady Lockout Tagout Safety Padlocks
  • Color-coding — Larger organizations have benefited from color-coding locks by trade or location to help keep equipment organized. Color-coded locks can also tell you who is still working on a machine at a glance, improving the visibility of the lockout process. Some facilities have even opted to color code their locks by location to reduce losses when internal maintenance teams are working with outside contractors.
  • Engraving — Engraving is an easy, more permanent way to keep everything organized, while also communicating the status of maintenance. For example, a facility may opt to engrave the department name on each lock, as well as the key code to make it easier to match the locks and keys together. If you're interested in this option, contact Brady Customer Support to order engraving on your padlocks. 
  • Lock labels — Lock labels are especially useful in keeping everything organized and they can quickly be updated to accommodate any unexpected change. Brady labels are made of durable vinyl and include a write-on surface that accepts pencil, pen or marker for those on-the-spot updates.

Selecting the right key system for your needs

Finding the right key system for your lockout tagout program ensures the right people have access to lockout equipment during maintenance. The guidelines below will help you determine the right option for your unique needs:

Brady Lockout Tagout Keyed Different Padlocks

Keyed different padlocks

Each padlock has its own unique key. Ideal for ensuring there is no potential key duplication when multiple maintenance personnel need to lockout equipment.

Brady Lockout Tagout Keyed Alike Padlocks

Keyed alike padlocks

Each padlock can be opened with the same key. This option is beneficial when multiple locks are assigned to a single employee. However, it’s important to remember that under OSHA regulations no employee should be able to open a lock applied by someone else. Therefore, keyed alike locks from the same set should never be distributed to multiple employees.

This type of lock is mostly used when a maintenance individual is responsible for multiple machines or isolation points. It makes it easier to find the right key and reduces the number of keys on a key ring.

Brady Lockout Tagout Master Keyed Padlocks

Master keyed padlocks

The master key can open all locks including keyed alike and keyed different locks. This allows supervisors to easily remove a lock in the event of an emergency. In order for employees to retain exclusive control, master keys should be kept in a secure location that is only accessible to management.

Brady Lockout Tagout Grand Master Keyed Padlocks

Grand master keyed padlocks

The grand master key can open all locks grouped into two or more master keyed systems. This option is best for applications with larger teams requiring multiple levels of supervisory access. In order for employees to retain exclusive control, grand master keys should be kept in a secure location that is only accessible to management.

Charting and tracking your locks / keys

Charting your locks and keys is recommended when the end user requires no risk of key duplication or for custom padlock options such as master keyed and grand master keyed padlocks. Brady can track or “chart” your key codes upon request to simplify ordering replacement locks and to avoid duplicates when ordering additional locks. If you're interested in this option, contact Brady Customer Support to request charting when ordering your padlocks.

Streamlining your program through standardization

When you’re managing lockout tagout programs for multiple departments or facilities, standardizing your program can provide a number of benefits to your organization. The most successful lockout tagout programs include the complete safety picture — locks, tags and devices, as well as proper lockout procedures, program documentation, employee training, periodic inspections or other procedural elements.

By creating a standard, it makes ordering new locks easier and faster because you know the exact lock you need to order for each application. It can also simplify training because a standardized program outlines what locks to use and where they are located.

Need more help?

If you’re still struggling to determine the best hardware and products for your lockout tagout program, we’re here to help. Partner with our in-house team of lockout tagout experts who can assist you in creating a sustainable and compliant safety program supported by:

  • Our insights — Field engineers from different backgrounds provide a variety of perspectives and find potential safety gaps others won’t
  • Our services — Industry-trusted expertise in lockout tagout, arc flash and confined space to keep you and your team protected
  • Our products — Safety products and software designed by experts and engineered to perform

Learn more about our lockout tagout solutions at www.bradyid.com/safety-services/lockout-tagout.

 

Resources

Lockout Tagout Guidebook

Learn more about Lockout Tagout compliance with “The Safety Professionals Expanded Guide to LOCKOUT TAGOUT”

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Checklist

Learn what equipment you need to effectively use lockout tagout in your facility with our downloadable checklist.

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Lockout Tagout FAQ's

What are other Safety Managers asking about Finding and Closing the Gaps in A Lockout Tagout Program?

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