Tech Briefs

This tool can be used to train hands-on workers, safety personnel, and engineers writing LOTO procedures.

The Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) Simulator is a portable training aid, or demonstration tool, designed to physically illustrate real-time critical-safety concepts of electrical lockout/tagout. The objective is to prevent misinterpretations of what is off and what is on during maintenance and repair of complex electrical systems. The simulator is designed in the form of a hinged box that opens up and stands on its own as an easel for demonstrations.

On the outer face of the unit is a simulated circuit breaker box housing the switches. The breakers control the main power to the unit, a light bulb, and an electrical control cabinet. The light bulb is wired so that either of two breakers can provide power to it. When power is sent to the electrical control cabinet, a red indicator light illuminates.

Inside the cabinet is the power supply from a personal computer. The power supply produces a 12-V dc output that is sent over to a small fan next to it, also from a computer, and an amber light on the front of the cabinet illuminates. A separate switch powers the fan on and off. The power supply is behind a plastic shield to protect against exposure to live conductors. Electrical banana jacks are mounted in the plastic shield to allow a voltmeter to be connected safely when opening the cabinet and taking a meter reading to verify de-energization as part of a simulation exercise.

This LOTO simulator prototype is designed and fabricated as an all-in-one unit. All accessories can be stored inside the hinged case, and there is a handle on top for ease of transport.

The circuit breaker labels attach with hook and loop fasteners so that they may be moved and changed to fit the training or demonstration scenario. The warning signs and labels on the electrical control box are magnetic, allowing for easy reconfiguration to emulate different equipment setups. A specially designed magnetic cover was made to disguise the indicator lights for demonstrations when these indicators are not used. The cover is disguised as an arc flash safety label that would typically be found on such a cabinet.

One indicator light has a separate switch that can take it offline. This is to allow for demonstration to trainees on why it is important not to completely rely on indicator lights, but that they should always take a meter reading at the exposed conductors to absolutely verify de-energization before exposure. A clear plastic barrier and banana jacks inside the cabinet provide a safe way to plug in a voltmeter for demonstrations without exposure to the hazards of energized equipment.

A small remote control unit is wired into the fan circuit. The remote allows the demonstrator to turn the fan on and off, provided that all of the breakers and switches leading to it are configured on as well. The remote feature was added in order to demonstrate the importance of starting the lockout/tagout task with energized equipment, then powering it down, isolating it, and locking it out to ensure that the correct breakers have been locked out.

This work was done by Jennifer Scheer of Kennedy Space Center. KSC-13389

This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).

Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) Simulator (reference KSC-13389) is currently available for download from the TSP library.

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