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Learn OSHA’s Requirements For Lockout/Tagout And Hazardous Energy Controls

Lockout-tagout, Safety Lockout

What exactly are lockout and tagout procedures for hazardous energy sources, and is there a standard for business compliance?

We get that question a lot from our manufacturing and industrial process clients. In this post, we’ll provide clarification and a go-to resource for all your questions.

We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started.

Strict safety controls are required when machinery and equipment must be secured for maintenance or repair. The equipment and all energy sources that power it must be shut down completely and secured before attempting any operations. Energy sources must also be designated by identifying tags.

These safety procedures are known as lockout/tagout procedures, and they’re defined in OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.147. The initial scope of the standard reads:

This standard covers the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment in which the unexpected energization or start up of the machines or equipment, or release of stored energy, could harm employees. This standard establishes minimum performance requirements for the control of such hazardous energy.

OSHA provides a good high-level overview of the four-page standard. But what are hazardous energy sources? And how do you provide lockout and tagout procedures for machinery and equipment?

What is hazardous energy, and how does it tie into equipment lockout and tagout procedures?

Hazardous energy is any energy source that can cause machinery and equipment to start up, operate, function, or move in any way. Energy, when not controlled, can cause serous injury to those performing work around it.

Heavy machinery must be incapable of functioning for people to work on it safely. Energy sources that could cause the machinery to start up include electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, thermal, gas, gravity (e.g., heavy objects), mechanical (e.g., springs), etc. The U.S. Department of Labor also provides some additional guidance on hazardous energy.

The bottom line is all hazardous energy sources must be completely isolated and disabled. They must also be clearly labeled to inform and protect the people who interact with the machinery in any way. Isolation points include electrical disconnects, valves, petcocks, hoses, springs, etc.

OSHA standard 1910.147, adopted in 1989, is intended to prevent accidental startup of equipment and machinery during periods of downtime. The core purpose of the standard is to protect the lives and health of the people who work on and around potentially dangerous machinery.

All potential hazardous energy sources must also be clearly locked (whenever possible) in the off or zero-energy position and tagged with appropriate information. This information includes the name(s) of the individuals who have the key to the lock, “DO NOT OPERATE” designations, dates and times of lockdowns, etc.

Authorized lockout personnel must verify a zero energy state before performing work on energized machines or equipment.

What are some examples of hazardous energy sources with lockout/tagout procedures?

Manufacturing and industrial equipment comes in many sizes and shapes and can be designed for various purposes. An example of a piece of heavy machinery with multiple isolation points for hazardous energy sources would be a mechanical metal press.

Potential hazardous energy sources on the press include hydraulic lines and valves, electrical power, mechanical springs, and pneumatic lines. Each machine and each source of hazardous energy, or isolation point, must be clearly locked out, recorded, and tagged with appropriate information visible on the tags. The number of isolation points to be analyzed and recorded starts to add up quickly.

Machine-specific lockout procedures must be developed and maintained for the processes and equipment, detailing how to shut down and lockout the machinery. Before performing maintenance or repairs equipment should be deenergized and locked out according to these procedures.

Training is also required for affected personnel who work on and around the machinery, along with periodic audits of the lockout/tagout processes and procedures.

The lockout/tagout processes and supporting documentation sound complex, are there cost-effective solutions available?

Yes, practical, purpose-built, cost-effective solutions are available for your business. Don’t be intimidated by the lockout/tagout process, training, audit, and documentation requirements.

The team at HealthSafe Safety Services is here to help. 

We’ll work hand-in-glove with your team to get the optimal lockout/tagout compliance and safety framework in place for your unique environment. We understand the requirements for compliance with OSHA standard 1910.147. We’ll help make sure you don’t get fined for non-compliance or lack of documentation and training.

At HealthSafe, workplace safety is in our DNA. We do more than make your workplace OSHA compliant. With over 20 years of experience, we build trust and confidence in your safety team and workforce.

As an industry-leading provider of safety consulting, site safety staffing, and site safety compliance solutions, our team would like to hear about your safety requirements and challenges, including lockout and tagout for hazardous energy sources.

So we’re offering a complimentary, risk-free safety consultation with no obligation or cost. Let’s discover some unique, innovative workplace safety solutions together. Isn’t it time for peace of mind and a safer workplace for your valued employees?

Call us at (800) 290-4230, or contact us online and schedule your complimentary safety assessment today!

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