Understanding OSHA Lockout Tagout 29 CFR 1910.147

OSHA Lockout Tagout

OSHA Lockout Tagout - The OSHA Reg. 29 CFR 1910.147 standard standard for the control of hazardous energy lockout tagout. The standard is in place to prevent the injury and/or death of electrical workers. It's a well documented fact that most electrical accidents are caused by electrical workers accidentally or negligently contacting live electrical circuits and/or energized electrical equipment.

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Controlling hazardous energy and establishing systematic lockout and tagout programs and procedures has always been part of the mission of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). However, OSHA rules for lockout tagout were scattered through the agency’s general industry standards until 1990 when "The Control of Hazardous Energy Sources" standard was adopted. The effective date for compliance with the standard in areas under federal OSHA jurisdiction was Jan. 2, 1990.

  • Part 1 offers general information.
  • Part 2 summarizes the standard.
  • Part 3 provides an example/illustration of a plan, 
  • Part 4 provides a checklist for implementing the standard.

The lockout tagout standard applies to general industry employment and concerns the maintenance or servicing of machinery and electrical equipment in which the sudden energization or release of potential energy could cause injury to employees. (If employees are performing service or maintenance tasks that do not expose them to the unexpected release of hazardous energy, the standard does not apply.)

OSHA standards for construction also contain requirements for protecting workers from electrical hazards (29 CFR 1926.416 and 29 CFR 1926.417). These standards require that workers exposed to any part of an electrical power circuit be protected through de-energizing and grounding of the circuit or through appropriate guarding. These standards also require that all de-energized circuits be rendered inoperable and tagged out.

This standard helps safeguard employees from hazardous energy while they are performing service or maintenance on machines and equipment. The standard identifies the practices and procedures necessary to shut down and lock out or tag out machines and equipment, requires that employees receive training in their role in the lockout/tagout program, and mandates that periodic inspections be conducted to maintain or enhance the energy control program. 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.

Indeed, most electrical accident are caused by the release of hazardous energy and failure to shut down or de-energize equipment so that someone can properly perform electrical maintenance. The best and safest way to work on electrical equipment is to de-energize it. And if all occupational safety and health employees used a strict lockout/tagout procedure, many electrical workers would still be alive today.

The Lockout Tagout OSHA Standard applies to electrical workers:
1. If the electrical worker or employee is required to remove or bypass a guard or other electrical safety device during service and maintenance of electrical equipment or machinery.
2. If there is an associated hazard zone that exists while a machine operating cycle is in place.
3. If the electrical worker is required to place any body part into an area of the machinery or equipment where work is actually being performed upon the material being processed.

Written Lockout Tagout OSHA Program
In order to comply with a written Lockout Tagout OSHA Program, a company must prepare a written work procedures document that includes the purpose, authorization, and rules, as well as the techniques to be used to control hazardous energy. Training must also be provided to all employees who are affected by the lockout tagout procedures. The written Lockout Tagout OSHA program must include the following items:

  • A specific statement about the intended use of the program
  • Specific steps for shutting down, isolating, and blocking machinery and equipment in order to control hazardous energy
  • Specific procedures for the placement and removal of lockout/tagout devices as well as the method to identify an individual’s locks or tags

Release from Lockout or Tagout
The authorized employee must follow the procedures below prior to removing lockout/tagout devices and restoring energy.


  • Make sure all employees are safely positioned outside dangerous areas





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