“Lockout/tagout” refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities. This requires, in part, that a designated individual turns off and disconnects the machinery or equipment from its energy source(s) before performing service or maintenance and that the authorized employee(s) either lock or tag the energy-isolating device(s) to prevent the release of hazardous energy and take steps to verify that the energy has been isolated effectively. If the potential exists for the release of hazardous stored energy or for the re-accumulation of stored energy to a hazardous level, the employer must ensure that the employee(s) take steps to prevent injury that may result from the release of the stored energy.
Lockout devices hold energy-isolation devices in a safe or “off” position. They provide protection by preventing machines or equipment from becoming energized because they are positive restraints that no one can remove without a key or other unlocking mechanism, or through extraordinary means, such as bolt cutters. Tagout devices, by contrast, are prominent warning devices that an authorized employee fastens to energy-isolating devices to warn employees not to reenergize the machine while he or she services or maintains it. Tagout devices are easier to remove and, by themselves, provide employees with less protection than do lockout devices.
Why do I need to be concerned about lockout/tagout?
Employees can be seriously or fatally injured if machinery they service or maintain unexpectedly energizes, starts up, or releases stored energy. OSHA’s standard on the Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout), found in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1910.147, spells out the steps employers must take to prevent accidents associated with hazardous energy. The standard addresses practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery and prevent the release of potentially hazardous energy while maintenance or servicing activities are performed.
Two other OSHA standards also contain energy control provisions: 29 CFR 1910.269 and 1910.333. In addition, some standards relating to specific types of machinery contain deenergization requirements—such as 29 CFR 1910.179(l)(2)(i)(c) (requiring the switches to be “open and locked in the open position” before performing preventive maintenance on overhead and gantry cranes). The provisions of Part 1910.147 apply in conjunction with these machine-specific standards to assure that employees will be adequately protected against hazardous energy.
How do I know if the OSHA standard applies to me?
If your employees service or maintain machines where the unexpected startup, energization, or the release of stored energy could cause injury, the standard likely applies to you. The standard applies to all sources of energy, including, but not limited to: mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, and thermal energy.
The standard does not cover electrical hazards from work on, near, or with conductors or equipment in electric utilization (premise wiring) installations, which are outlined by Subpart S of 29 CFR Part 1910. You can find the specific lockout and tagout provisions for electrical shock and burn hazards in 29 CFR Part 1910.333. Controlling hazardous energy in installations for the exclusive purpose of power generation, transmission, and distribution, including related equipment for communication or metering, is covered by 29 CFR 1910.269.
The standard also does not cover the agriculture, construction, and maritime industries or oil and gas well drilling and servicing. Other standards concerning the control of hazardous energy, however, apply in many of these industries/situations.
When does the standard not apply to service and maintenance activities performed in industries covered by Part 1910?
The standard does not apply to general industry service and maintenance activities in the following situations, when:
+ Exposure to hazardous energy is controlled completely by unplugging the equipment from an electric outlet and where the employee doing the service or maintenance has exclusive control of the plug. This applies only if electricity is the only form of hazardous energy to which employees may be exposed. This exception encompasses many portable hand tools and some cord and plug connected machinery and equipment.
+ An employee performs hot-tap operations on pressurized pipelines that distribute gas, steam, water, or petroleum products, for which the employer shows the following:
– Continuity of service is essential;
– Shutdown of the system is impractical; and
– The employee follows documented procedures and uses special equipment that provides proven, effective employee protection.
+ The employee is performing minor tool changes or other minor servicing activities that are routine, repetitive, and integral to production, and that occur during normal production operations. In these cases, employees must have effective, alternative protection.
Logging Lockout/Tagout Procedures
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