The OSHA standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)

Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1910.147

Important to Know:

If your employees service or maintain machines, where the unexpected startup, energization, or the release of stored energy could cause injury, then OSHA’s Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) Standards should be at the forefront of your safety protocols and procedures.

According to OSHA, employees servicing or maintaining machines or equipment may be exposed to serious physical harm or death if hazardous energy is not properly controlled. Craft workers, machine operators, and laborers are among the 3 million workers who service equipment and face the greatest risk. Compliance with the lockout/tagout (LOTO) 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.

The LOTO 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 and equipment. Remember, employees need to be trained to ensure that they know, understand, and follow the applicable provisions of the hazardous energy control procedures.

The standards establish requirements that employers must follow and outlined below are the most critical:

  • 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 program.
  • 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 control procedures. [See the note to 29 CFR 1910.147(c)(4)(i) for an exception to the documentation requirements.]
  • 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 users.
  • Establish a policy that permits only the employee who applied a lockout/tagout device to remove it. [See 29 CFR 1910.147(e)(3) for exception.]
  • Inspect energy control procedures at least annually.
  • Provide effective training as mandated for all employees covered by the standard.
  • Comply with the additional energy control provisions in OSHA standards when machines or equipment must be tested or repositioned, when outside contractors work at the site, in group lockout situations, and during shift or personnel changes.

Increase Your Knowledge:

Visit OSHA’s eTool for an interactive training program that will expand your knowledge of the LOTO standard. Additionally, OSHA has various publications, standards, technical assistance, and compliance tools to help you. These are available at www.osha.gov.