When are Lockout/Tagout Procedures Required?

Filed under Expert Tips
Although there may be additional equipment that does not require a lockout/tagout procedure, most equipment found in a facility does require a procedure."

A guide to implementation and use

There are two different contexts to the question “when are lockout-tagout procedures required,” which produce two different answers. Therefore, in order to fully answer the question, we will look at it in two different ways. We will look at it in a sense of when is lockout/tagout required for implementation, and when is lockout/tagout required for use.

SONY DSCWhen is Lockout/Tagout Required for Implementation?

According to the OSHA Standard 1910.147, machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures are required for any piece of equipment that has more than one energy source. These energy sources include both lockable energy, which can be controlled by a lock, and non-lockable energy, which is internally stored and must be dissipated manually. The purpose of the lockout/tagout procedures is to create and establish a zero-energy state of the equipment for safe serving.

Therefore, lockout/tagout is required for most type of equipment in most industries; there are only a few instances when equipment does not require a procedure. Some examples of equipment that do not require machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures are:

  • Manual dock levelers
  • Manual overhead doors
  • Handheld tools
  • Standard ceiling fans
  • Forklifts
  • Mechanical hydraulic press

Although there may be additional equipment that does not require a lockout/tagout procedure, most equipment found in a facility does require a procedure. Therefore, it is important to know the equipment and energy sources in order to properly create and implement a safe and accurate machine-specific lockout/tagout procedure.

When is Lockout/Tagout Required for Use?

Once machine-specific lockout/tagout procedures have been created and installed for all of the equipment with more than one energy source within the facility, the next step is to understand when lockout/tagout must actually be used. According to the OSHA Standard 1910.147, the standard applies to the control of energy during servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment. Such circumstances include: scheduled maintenance, repair, unjamming, etc. However, the main rule for when to lockout equipment is whenever an employee is putting their body in harm’s way, or must leave the area to go get a part.

SONY DSCThere are certain circumstances that do not require the equipment to be lockout out. According to OSHA 1910.147, minor tool changes another servicing activities that take place during normal production operations and are considered routine & repetitive do not require lockout. However, it is crucial to remember that even if these certain tasks are considered to follow under this description, if any part of the worker’s body is in harm’s way while performing the task, then he/she must lockout the equipment.

Determining when to lockout equipment can either be extremely straightforward or fall into a grey area. If it is ever unclear as to whether to lockout the equipment, the safe and common answer will to be to lock it out anyways. Although the lockout may take additional time and resources, it is better to be safe than sorry when dealing with people’s lives.

For help creating and implementing a lockout/tagout program, talk to an ESC Services representative using the contact us page. ESC Services can create a compliant program in a matter of weeks.

About Dana Andersen
Dana Andersen is a mechanical engineer at ESC Services  She has managed many lockout/tagout implementation projects for large and small companies in the United States.  Dana has worked in many different industries and facilities, including manufacturing, food processing, universities, and hospitals.