School operations

Equipment Isolation and Tag Out


This policy outlines the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) requirements in schools for the isolation and tag out of plant, machinery and equipment.


  • The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHS) 2004 (Vic)External Link requires the department, so far as is reasonably practicable, to provide and maintain for employees a working environment that is safe and without risks to health. Part 5, Plant, of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (Vic)External Link describes the specific employer obligations in relation to plant.
  • The principal and/or their delegate must manage the risks with plant and equipment and must implement effective isolation and tag out procedures whenever there is a need to perform maintenance, inspection, cleaning or repair of equipment or whenever removing unsafe equipment from use.
  • Under the OHS Act 2004 (Vic), employees while at work must take reasonable care for their own health and safety and the safety of others who may be affected by their actions or omissions.
  • Central and regional offices provide a range of supports and services to assist principals and employees to be safe and well, including access to the OHS Advisory Service and local OHS regional officers, who can provide free advice on managing risks related to equipment isolation and tag out.
  • The Equipment Isolation and Tag Out Procedure (also in the Procedure tab) must be followed, and sets out the practical step-by-step instructions for implementing this policy.
  • This policy forms part of the department’s OHS management system, see OHS Management System (OHSMS) Overview for further information.


The principal and/or their delegate must:

  • ensure that equipment identified as being unsafe or requiring maintenance work, is switched off and disconnected from any energy source
  • ensure that equipment identified as being unsafe is withdrawn from service and locked out to prevent unauthorised use
  • ensure that equipment that has been locked out has an ‘Out of Service' and/or ‘Danger Do Not Operate’ tag attached (tag out)
  • ensure that only a competent person is permitted to repair the equipment and remove the ‘Out of Service’ tags and/or locks
  • ensure that a record is kept of dates, times and names of employee(s) and/or contractors isolating and tagging of equipment in the Isolation and Tag Out RegisterExternal Link or equivalent


Competent person
A person who has acquired through training or qualification the knowledge and skills appropriate to the nature of the work to be undertaken (for example, electrician, plumber, gas-fitter or service technician).

Lock out/tag out
The placement of a lockout device on an energy-isolating device in accordance with an established procedure. A lockout device is a mechanical means of locking that uses an individually keyed lock to secure an energy-isolating device in a position that prevents energisation of a machine, equipment, or a process.

Tag out devices are prominent warning devices that an authorised employee fastens to energy-isolating devices to warn employees not to reenergise the machine while he or she services or maintains it. Tag out devices are easier to remove and, by themselves, provide employees with less protection than do lockout devices.

Under the OHS Act 2004, plant includes:

  • any machinery equipment, appliance, implement and tool
  • any component of any of those things
  • anything fitted, connected or related to any of those things

Under regulation 74 of the OHS Regulations 2017, plant is further defined as:

  • plant that lifts or moves persons or materials, including objects and substances such as empty receptacles, bins landfill rubbish, metals and soil (for example, lifts, escalators, cranes, hoists, powered mobile plant, elevated work platforms)
  • pressure equipment, tractors, earthmoving machinery, lasers, scaffolds, temporary access equipment, explosive-powered tools, turbines and amusement structures
  • plant that processes material by way of a mechanical action that:
    • cuts, drills, punches or grinds the material (for example, woodworking saws, drill presses, clicking presses, bench grinders)
    • presses, forms, hammers, joins or moulds the material (for example, power presses, die casting machines, forging hammers, plastic injection moulding machines), or
    • combines, mixes, sorts, packages, assembles, knits or weaves the material (for example, dough mixers, packaging machines, knitting machines)

Relevant legislation

Department policy on OHS requirements for the isolation and tag out of plant, machinery and equipment in schools

Reviewed 09 May 2024

Policy last updated

15 June 2020


  • Schools
  • School councils


OHS Advisory Service

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