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    April 3, 2019

    Safe Work Permits Blog Series – Part 3: Lockout/Tagout

    Under regulation 29 CFR 1910.147, OSHA requires employers to follow and enforce safety procedures when workers are involved in or around work on machines or equipment that may potentially start unexpectedly and injure nearby individuals. This regulation serves to eliminate these unexpected startups to prioritize worker safety.

    Key Requirements

    Any procedure the employer conducts regarding a lockout/tagout program should be well documented for when workers are actively involved with machines or equipment where lockout/tagout is used. Your procedures should cover in detail the scope, purpose, rules, authorization, and techniques to be used, as well as your plan to enforce the procedures. When developing your procedures for lockout/tagout, you should include the following:

    • The specific use and purpose of the procedure

    • Specific steps to shut down, isolate, and secure the machine to prevent startup

    • Specific steps for placing, removing, and transferring lockout or tagout devices

    • Specific requirements for testing the machine or equipment to verify the effectiveness of lockout or tagout devices

    • Locks, chains, pins and other hardware that the employer will provide to the worker to implement lockout/tagout

    • Singular identification of each lockout/tagout device

    • Devices should be standardized within the company by using color, shape, or size, as well as print and format for tagout devices

    • Devices must withstand the environment they are used in, including potentially varying weather conditions

    • Lockout devices should not require excessive force to remove them

    • Lockout and tagout devices should identify the employee using them

    • Tagout devices should warn against hazards that could occur if the machine or equipment should gain energy

    • Employers should periodically inspect all devices and the lockout/tagout   procedures to ensure compliance

    • Tagout devices should be effective enough so that accidental removal is not a possibility

    • The employer should train and communicate all procedures and potential hazards to employees, and ensure they understand certain expectations

    • Employees should undergo retraining when they change job assignments, new hazards present themselves, or when energy control procedures change

    For more suggestions on how to implement energy control procedures, you can view the full text of regulation 29 CFR 1910.147 here.

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