SAFETY SOLUTIONS: OSHA Standard for Control of Hazardous Energy Sources?
Podojil & Associates is a leader in the Control of
Hazardous Energy Field. Each time we are contacted
by a potential client to conduct an audit (which
is usually after an accident has occurred or OSHA has
cited them) we ask them a few questions:
The OSHA standard for The Control of Hazardous
Energy (Lockout/Tagout), Title 29 Code of Federal
Regulations (CFR) Part 1910.147, 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.
The standard outlines measures for controlling hazardous
energies—electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic,
chemical, thermal, and other energy sources.
Have you conducted your initial and annual
Lockout & Tagout training for Authorized
Employees and also training for Affected
Employees? This answer is usually; “I Don’t
We then ask them if they have conducted their
periodic audit (which is an OSHA requirement)
with each Authorized Employee who will be
locking out and tagging out the sources of
energy and we still get an, “I Don’t Know.”
The third question that we ask is, “Have you
identified all of your energy sources on your
equipment and did you label/placard the
sources and are they readily available on the
machine?” Usually this answer is “No”.
In addition, 29 CFR 1910.333 sets forth requirements
to protect employees working on electric circuits and
equipment. This section requires workers to use safe work
practices, including lockout and tagging procedures. These
provisions apply when employees are exposed to electrical
hazards while working on, near, or with conductors or
systems that use electric energy.
Why is controlling hazardous energy
Employees servicing or maintaining machines or equipment
may be exposed to serious physical harm or death if
hazardous energy is not properly controlled. Craft workers,
machine operators, and laborers are among the 3 million
workers who service equipment and face the greatest risk.
Compliance with the lockout/tagout standard prevents an
estimated 120 fatalities and 50,000 injuries each year.
Workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous
energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation.
How can you protect workers?
The lockout/tagout standard establishes the employer’s
responsibility to protect employees from hazardous energy
sources on machines and equipment during service and
maintenance. The standard gives each employer the flexibility
to develop an energy control program suited to the
needs of the particular workplace and the types of
machines and equipment being maintained or serviced.
This is generally done by affixing the appropriate lockout
or tagout devices to energy-isolating devices and by deenergizing
machines and equipment. The standard outlines
the steps required to do this.
What do employees need to know?
Employees need to be trained to ensure they know,
understand, and follow the applicable provisions of the
hazardous energy control procedures. The training must
cover at least three areas: aspects of the employer’s energy
control program; elements of the energy control procedure
relevant to the employee’s duties or assignment; and
the various requirements of the OSHA standards related
What must employers do to protect
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 from
these standards are outlined below:
If you need more inforrmation on this important subject,
please contact me at the magazine or at jpodojil@
podojilconsulting.com or visit our website at www.
Develop, implement and enforce an energy control program.
Use lockout devices for equipment that can be 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
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.
Use only lockout/tagout devices authorized for the particular
equipment or machinery and ensure that they
are durable, standardized and substantial.
Ensure that lockout/tagout devices identify the individual
Establish a policy that permits only the employee who
applied a lockout/tagout device to remove it.
Inspect energy control procedures at least annually.
Provide effective training as mandated for all employees
covered by the standard.
- Comply with the additional energy control provisions in
OSHA standards when machines or equipment must
be tested or repositioned, when outside contractors
work at the site, in group lockout situations and during
shift or personnel changes
For more information, click on the author biography at the top of the page.