Lock-Out Tag-Out (Hazardous Energy Control)
Whenever an employee is maintaining or servicing a piece of equipment which could unexpectedly release energy, the equipment must be locked out by a specific, previously validated process before work begins.
Types of energy include electrical, mechanical, chemical, thermal, kinetic, pressurized liquids or gases, or any other type of energy that could cause bodily harm upon release. Lock-out Tag-out prevents the accidental restart of equipment believed to be de-energized. Lock-out is the preferred method; tag-out may be used only when it is not possible to lock out the equipment.
Lock-Out Tag-Out procedures must be specific for each piece of equipment. Procedure must be affixed to the equipment in a permanent manner. Procedures must be validated at least annually by demonstration.
OSHA CFR 1910.147
Keys to Compliance for Supervisors
- Make certain there is a written LOTO procedure for each piece of energized equipment that your employees use. For complex systems, multiple LOTO procedures may be needed.
- The written LOTO procedure must be validated by following the procedure to de-energize the equipment, and verifying the equipment is, in fact, de-energized and locked out.
- Each procedure must be re-validated annually (or if the equipment configuration changes); employees must be trained on each specific procedure annually or when changes area made.
- Ensure that employees follow the written LOTO procedures exactly.
- Provide necessary tools and equipment needed for LOTO, and make certain employees use only the LOTO tools provided.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Do we really need a separate procedure for each piece of equipment?
A. Yes, unless the items are absolutely identical. Procedures should identify electric panel number / ID to ensure proper electric circuits are disabled.
Q. What must I provide in the training for my employees?
A. Review of all specific LOTO procedures at the unit of equipment; review of key elements of the OSHA regulation, including the recommended shut-down and start-up processes.
Q. Can my employees use their own locks?
A. No. Should there be an emergency, the supervisor must have the ability to remove the lock; therefore a standard lock system should be used by each group.
Links to written programs, further information