29 CFR 1910.147 - Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)


29 CFR 1910.147 - Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) - This OSHA 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.


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What is hazardous energy?
Energy sources including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other sources in machines and equipment can be hazardous to workers. During the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment, the unexpected startup or release of stored energy can result in serious injury or death to workers.

Comlying with OSHA 29 CFR  1910.147 is fairly straightforward, yet it’s among OSHA’s most-cited violations every year. Employers are responsible for the control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), be aware of the sections of the standard that employees are not following, and train them to ensure lockout/tagout is top-of-mind in their work practices.

OSHA 29 CFR 1910.147 Lockout/Tagout establishes the employer’s responsibility to protect employees from hazardous energy sources on machines and equipment during service and maintenance. The standard outlines measures for controlling hazardous energies — electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, and other energy sources. It 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.

In 2019, lockout/tagout ranked fourth on the list of top OSHA violations. In total, 2,975 violations were given to companies, marking a slight increase from 2,923 violations in 2018.


What are the harmful effects of hazardous energy?
Workers servicing or maintaining machines or equipment may be seriously injured or killed if hazardous energy is not properly controlled. Injuries resulting from the failure to control hazardous energy during maintenance activities can be serious or fatal! Injuries may include electrocution, burns, crushing, cutting, lacerating, amputating, or fracturing body parts, and others.


What can be done to control hazardous energy?
Proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from hazardous energy releases. OSHA's Lockout/Tagout Fact Sheet describes the practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment to prevent hazardous energy release. The OSHA standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) for general industry outlines measures for controlling different types of hazardous energy. The LOTO standard establishes the employer's responsibility to protect workers from hazardous energy. Employers are also required to train each worker to ensure that they know, understand, and are able to follow the applicable provisions of the hazardous energy control procedures:

Proper lockout/tagout procedures safeguard workers from the release of hazardous energy. CFR 1910.147 outlines specific action and procedures for addressing and controlling hazardous energy during servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment. Employers are required to train each worker to ensure that they know, understand, and are able to follow the applicable provisions of the hazardous energy control procedures. Workers must be trained in the purpose and function of the energy control program and have the knowledge and skills required for the safe application, usage and removal of the energy control devices.

All workers who work in an area where energy control procedures are utilized need to be instructed in the purpose and use of the energy control procedures, especially prohibition against attempting to restart or reenergize machines or other equipment that are locked or tagged out.

All workers who are authorized to lockout machines or equipment and perform the service and maintenance operations need to be trained in recognition of applicable hazardous energy sources in the workplace, the type and magnitude of energy found in the workplace, and the means and methods of isolating and/or controlling the energy.

Specific procedures and limitations relating to tagout systems where they are allowed. Retraining of all employees to maintain proficiency or introduce new or changed control methods.

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:

Develop, implement, and enforce an energy control program.

  • Use lockout devices for equipment that canbe 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 to29 CFR 1910.147(c)(4)(i) for an exception to the documentation requirements.]
  • Use only lockout/tagout devices authorizedfor 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 CFR1910.147(e)(3) for exception.]
  • Inspect energy control procedures at least annually.
  • Provide effective training as mandated for all employees covered by the standard.


Four ways to ensure lockout/tagout procedures are followed

1. Set standards for maximum compliance
2. Provide thorough training (and retraining)
3. Conduct regular inspections
4. Create a hazardous energy control program


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