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Lock out ball valves with wheel handles in refineries

Case Study

Ball valves are a common sight on pipes in refineries and are important to control the flow of oil and chemicals. As a consequence, being able to lock out ball valves and empty specific pipes for a while, will no longer expose workers to the dangers posed by pipe contents. When pipes can no longer be reopened before maintenance is done, interventions on the pipes themselves, on connected machinery or infrastructure can become significantly safer.

Easily lock out small to giant wheel handles!

Ball valve large wheel handle lockout


One of the world’s largest oil & gas companies needed a solution to lock out ball valves in their refineries. Ball valves controlled by giant wheel handles were being locked out with large iron chains, which created a suboptimal safety solution as the wheel handle could still be moved. Because of the wheel handle’s giant size, the company’s current provider did not have a fitting Lockout/Tagout solution available.


Universal Lockout System

Brady offered its Universal Lockout System to easily lock ball valves with wheel handles of all sizes in their off-position. The Universal Lockout System comes with a flexible yet strong cable in nylon or sheathed steel with variable length:

  • 2,44m (nylon & sheathed steel)
  • 4,88m (sheathed steel)
  • 6,10m (sheathed steel)

Unlike with chains, it is possible to firmly lock a wheel handle in place with the Universal Lockout System as both a locking system and a visual deterrent. Both the oil company’s Plant Manager and Safety Manager agreed to take their Lockout programme one step further with the Universal Lockout System.

Padlock plan

Key planning

Key planning is an important element in a safe Lockout/Tagout programme. It enables companies to establish rights of use by determining who can open which lock. To do this several key options for padlocks are available:

  • Keyed different: each padlock can be only be opened with a different key
  • Keyed alike: padlocks, or sets of padlocks, can be opened with the same key
  • Master keyed: master keys and grand master keys can be assigned to team leaders, safety managers or plant managers to open multiple sets of keyed alike, or series of keyed different padlocks

Because Brady was able to solve the giant wheel handle lockout issue, our customer challenged us to come up with a padlock plan for their 10 factories on-site. After succesfully completing a pilot programme in 1 factory, Brady supplied all 10 factories with 15 000 keyed alike padlocks, 1000 lockboxes each with an additional keyed different padlock, and a custom label on each lockbox.

Padlock recognition & availability

To reinforce recognition of who or which team locked out which equipment, Brady offers 2 padlock options in addition to Lockout tags:

  • Colour coding: each maintenance team can be assigned padlocks in a unique, identifying colour. Colour can also be used to distinguish between internal or external maintenance teams for example.
  • Engraving: Brady can personalise each padlock by engraving team or employee names in the lock. This also helps teams or employees to retrieve their locks after maintenance is done.

Reliable delivery

Brady was able to supply the Universal Lockout System within 2 weeks after receiving the order. 15 000 padlocks, each engraved with an employee’s name, were supplied in phased deliveries per factory, with the last delivery 8 weeks after receving the order, as requested by our customer. Brady also supplied the 1000 lockboxes, each identified by a custom label, to each of the 10 factories at the right time, right before our customer undertook a huge turnaround.