SAFETY SOLUTIONS: OSHA & Lockout/Tagout
Many employers are still risking employees lives
by not following proper lockout & tagout procedures.
The following is a list of the top 10 most
frequently cited standards following inspections of worksites
by federal OSHA.
- 1926.501 – Fall Protection
- 1910.1200 – Hazard Communication
- 1926.451 – Scaffolding
- 1910.134 – Respiratory Protection
- 1910.147 – Lockout/Tagout
- 1910.178 – Powered Industrial Trucks
- 1926.1053 – Ladders
- 1910.305 – Electrical, Wiring Methods
- 1910.212 – Machine Guarding
- 1910.303 – Electrical, General Requirements
So this month why don’t we concentrate on OSHA’s The
OSHA standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy
(Lockout/Tagout), Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations
(CFR ) Part 1910.147, addresses the practices and procedures
necessary to disable machinery or equipment,
thereby preventing the release of hazardous energy while
employees perform servicing and maintenance activities.
The standard outlines measures for controlling hazardous
energies—electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic,
chemical, thermal, and other energy sources. In addition,
29 CFR 1910.333 sets forth requirements to protect
employees working on electric circuits and equipment.
This section requires workers to use safe work practices,
including lockout and tagging procedures. These provisions
apply when employees are exposed to electrical hazards
while working on, near, or with conductors or systems
that use electric energy.
Why is controlling hazardous energy sources important?
Employees servicing or maintaining machines or equipment
may be exposed to serious physical harm or death if
hazardous energy is not properly controlled. Compliance
with the lockout/tagout standard prevents an estimated
120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year. Workers
injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose
an average of 24 workdays for recuperation.
How can you protect workers? The lockout/tagout standard
establishes the employer’s responsibility to protect
employees from hazardous energy sources on machines
and equipment during service and maintenance.
The standard gives each employer the flexibility to
develop an energy control program suited to the needs of
the particular workplace and the types of machines and
equipment being maintained or serviced. This is generally
done by affixing the appropriate lockout or tagout devices
to energy-isolating devices and by deenergizing machines
What do employees need to know? The training must
cover at least three areas: aspects of the employer’s energy
control program; elements of the energy control procedure
relevant to the employee’s duties or assignment; and
the various requirements of the OSHA standards related
The standards establish requirements that employers
must follow when employees are exposed to hazardous
energy while servicing and maintaining equipment and
machinery. Some of the most critical requirements from
these standards are outlined below:
- Develop, implement, and enforce an energy control program.
- Use lockout devices for equipment that can be locked
out. Tagout devices may be used in lieu of lockout
devices only if the tagout program provides employee
protection equivalent to that provided through a lockout
- Ensure that new or overhauled equipment is capable of
being locked out.
- Develop, implement, and enforce an effective tagout
program if machines or equipment are not capable of
being locked out.
- Develop, document, implement, and enforce energy
- Use only lockout/tagout devices authorized for the particular
equipment or machinery and ensure that they
are durable, standardized, and substantial.
- Ensure that lockout/tagout devices identify the individual
- Establish a policy that permits only the employee who
applied a lockout/tagout device to remove it.
- Inspect energy control procedures at least annually.
- Provide effective training as mandated for all employees
covered by the standard.
Guidance such as OSHA’s Safety and Health
Management Program Guidelines identify elements that
are critical to the development of a successful safety and
health management system. Should you have any additional
questions, please contact me at
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