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10 Tips for Designing Effective Tagout Tags

Tagout tags have an important role in the utility industry, so they should be easy to understand and fill out. Below are 10 tips to consider when designing your Tagout tags.

1. Make the Tag Noticeable

The tag shouldn’t blend in. More often than not, Tagout tags are guarding someone’s life and needs to stand out. Use fluorescent or bright colors when possible.

2. Use Plastic Snap-Grommets

Metal eyelets are conductive whereas plastic grommets have a higher dielectric resistance. Don’t take that risk in a high voltage environment. Also, some metal eyelets aren’t very strong and will stain your tag if/when they corrode.

3.  Larger Tags are Better

A small tag means small text, which is hard to read and fill out. Generally speaking, handwriting requires at least ¼” between rows. The extra cost is slight when compared to the benefit or increased legibility. A tag that is hard to fill out will be ignored. If a smaller tag is required, avoid readability issues by printing your own tags as opposed to using handwritten fields.

4. Use a White Message Panel

The message panel should be safety white and the lettering safety black for the highest contrast and visibility. The letters should upper and lowercase letters. All uppercase letters should only be used for short statements to emphasize certain words.

5.  Make Sure the Header Stands Out

The letters used in the header should be at least 3/8” high. For Tagout tags, you will want to use the “Danger” header. ANSI requires the signal word for hazard tags to be located at the top of the tag.

6. Use a Symbol

Symbols can convey hazards faster than words and they have the ability to transcend language barriers. Use a symbol that illustrates the consequence of the hazard.

7. Streamline the Primary Message

All tags need to contain a message panel that identifies the specific hazard or relevant instruction. The message panel should be concise and easy to understand. Some examples include: Do Not Operate, Do Not Close, Do Not Open, Do Not Energize. A single tag should only address one issue to avoid confusion.

8. Include a Signature Block

Tagout tags should contain a place for the name and contact information of the person authorizing the placement or attaching the tag to the power source. You can also include a note section, service start and completion date.

9. Utilize Both Sides

The best Tagout tags provide instructions that coincide with your Tagout program. At the very least, the back of your tag should refer to the front of your tag.

10. Consider How to Remove a Tag

Tags are temporary. Use tags with small V-slots to enable quick destruction after use. Some customers use a perforated section of the tag that can be sent back to the office for record keeping.

Additional Tag Design Considerations

Some additional points worth mentioning are the standard design requirements from OSHA and the NESC.

OSHA 1910.269(d)(3)(ii)(A)(2) requires Tagout devices to be standardized within the facility in at least one of the following criteria: color, shape or size; and additionally in the case of tagout devices, print and format should also be standardized.

OSHA 1910.269(d)(3)(ii)(D) requires tag attachment means to meet 50 lbs. pull force. Tags must be made out of materials that will hold up to the environment where they are being used.

NESC Part 4 Section: 41 Rule: 411D points to ANSI Z535 for tag design and layout requirements.

The Electromark Difference

Over 50 years in the utility industry enables us to deliver reliable custom or standard Tagout solutions. Explore our standard offering online or request a quote for a custom solution. Need help? Reach out to our customer service team to learn more about Electromark tagging solutions. Follow us on LinkedIn for new product information and updates.

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Electromark provides identification solutions for outdoor environments. Over 45 years of electric utility knowledge enables us to create regulation-compliant products that fit your custom or standard needs. We do more than sell durable signs, tags and labels. We are your outdoor identification experts.

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