^ A real-life application of the Pro-Lock. To see more actual applications, please visit the Pro-Lock website at: www.pro-lock.co.uk

Article By David Sear

Sometimes it is the simplest solutions that work best. Take the Pro-Lock® valve lockout as an example. The application, versatility and strengths of this elegant device will be immediately apparent to anyone who works with valves, be they a highly qualified engineer with many years of experience or the newest of recruits being trained as a plant operator.
The Pro-Lock has, according to Managing Director Neil Blair, been designed as a universal system that can complement or even replace high-priced security seals, padlocks and chains. “We believe it is ideal for the isolation of most types of valves, industrial machinery and many other items,” he states. “The original Pro-Lock device was designed to replace any known valve lockout system. Pro-Lock was the first colour-coded lockout and can be used independently, or in conjunction with additional security. It can also fit seamlessly into existing Permit-to-Work systems.”

Fitting the Pro-Lock is simplicity itself. The sturdy wire is first secured to the valve handle before being wrapped around a fixed point. Examples could be an adjacent pipe or structural beam. The wire is then drawn tight and slotted into the sides of the Pro-Lock. This avoids the need to thread the wire which can often be a fiddly, time-consuming operation. The top is then easily hand-tightened to secure the cable in place. The operator can then adjust the position of the Pro-Lock as required and hard-tighten using a purpose-built tool. For added security, padlocks or security seals can be fitted. This procedure is easily performed by a single operator.


The Pro-Lock was Mr Blair’s brainchild; an innovation based on many years’ experience in the oil and gas industry. Not surprisingly, it has been built to withstand aggressive offshore environments. The sturdy device is for example moulded from impact copolymer polypropylene MFI 1310 whilst all internal parts are manufactured from stainless steel. The wire used in conjunction with the Pro-Lock is a PVC coated, multi stranded, galvanised, steel wire, supplied either cut to the required length or left on the roll as required.

Mr Blair comments: “Pro-Lock is tough and extremely versatile. Function testing between -55°C and +55°C shows no noticeable reduction in performance. Pro-Lock offers a reliable alternative to expensive or more difficult to use lockout products such as padlocks, chains and security seals. Moreover, the Pro-Lock is a reusable device.”
Pro-Lock has an enormous range of possible applications – on construction sites, in industrial environments and of course in the oil, gas and petrochemical industries, concludes Mr Blair. “Easy to use, reliable and extremely hard wearing, Pro-lock® is one of the most effective and versatile locking systems currently available. For maximum security applications, the most cost-efficient lock-off combination is Pro-Lock, steel wire and a numbered security seal. Isolation details can be written on the security seal, thereby eliminating the need for high cost labels.”

Meet Neil Blair

Mr Blair’s professional career started in 1973 when he joined ICI. For almost thirty years he worked for companies such as Saudi Aramco, British Gas, Hamilton Oil, BHP and finally BP, where he rose to the position of Team Leader. His forte was in identifying ways to improve work practices and procedures, of which the Pro-Lock is an excellent example. With a patent for the Pro-Lock granted in 1997, Mr Blair formed Pro-Lock Valve Lockout Ltd in 1998, resigning from BP in 2002 to concentrate fully on the business.

Neil Blair

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