Learn How Lockout/Tagout Saves Lives (and avoid fines)

When it comes to lockout/tagout, many companies are focusing on all the wrong elements when it comes to confirming the company will stay free of accidents and citations.  We can help you avoid lockout-tagout fines.

When it comes to creating a lockout/tagout program that meets your company’s unique needs, a critical first step is understanding where most programs fail.

 Learn the difference between repeat and willful violations from our expert resources section.

The control of hazardous energy (as well as related state programs) utilizes the following intent:

1910.147(a)(1)(i) This 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.

“Lockout/tagout exists to prevent unexpected startup of the equipment or energy to prevent injury to the employee while servicing.”

Machine Specific Procedures

The most common way companies are failing to comply is by not having lockout/tagout procedures highlighted by this regulation:

1910.147(c)(4)(i) Procedures shall be developed, documented and utilized for the control of potentially hazardous energy when employees are engaged in the activities covered by this section.

The confusion around this part of the regulation revolves around the question of what equipment require a procedure. Learn more about machine specific procedures >

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When to Utilize Lockout/Tagout

The next most common reason for accidents and citations is failing to utilize lockout/tagout at the appropriate time. Obviously there is a need for balance between what is safe and what is practical in order for this program to be most effective.

1910.147(a)(2)(ii)(B) An employee is required to place any part of his or her body into an area on a machine or piece of equipment where work is actually performed upon the material being processed (point of operation) or where an associated danger zone exists during a machine operating cycle.

This reference to the federal OSHA regulation defines the parameters of when an employee must utilize lockout/tagout and when it’s okay to avoid it. The complexity to this problem comes with the unique, custom tailored solutions that are necessary to achieve the safe alternatives as referenced in the exception to 1910.147(a)(2)(ii).

Note – Exception to paragraph (a)(2)(ii): Minor tool changes and adjustments, and other minor servicing activities, which take place during normal production operations, are not covered by this standard if they are routine, repetitive, and integral to the use of the equipment for production, provided that the work is performed using alternative measures which provide effective protection (See Subpart O of this Part).