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Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) General Industry – Regulation 29 CFR 1910.147

Enforcement from Oct. 2021-Sept. 2022

Total citations: 2,129

Total inspections: 1,170

Total proposed penalties: $14,812,924

Most Frequently Violated OSHA Standard Ranking – Number 6

Industries most often violating LOTO standard:

  • Manufacturing: 1,587 citations, 870 violations, $11,255,690 in proposed penalties
  • Wholesale Trade: 149, 82, $838,598
  • Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services: 78, 37, $519,833
  • Construction: 52, 32, $488,707
  • Other Services (except Public Administration): 52, 27, $412,409
  • Transportation and Warehousing: 52, 31, $517,418
  • Retail Trade: 29, 18, $137,172
  • Health Care and Social Assistance: 17, 10, $85,979
  • Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting: 16, 7, $61,675
  • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation, 15, 8, $48,220
  • Public Administration: 14, 8, $0
  • Utilities, 14, 6, $162,961
  • Accommodation and Food Services, 13, 9, $68,158

What is hazardous energy?

Energy sources, including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, gas, chemical, gravity, steam, thermal or other sources in machines and equipment can be hazardous to workers. During the installation, maintenance, service, unexpected start up, or repair of equipment, the unexpected startup or release of stored energy can result in serious injury or death to workers. Workers are at risk of severe injury and death during equipment or machine maintenance and servicing if proper lockout/tagout procedures are not accurate or not followed. Injuries may include electrocution, burns, crushing, cutting, lacerating, amputating, fracturing body parts and others.

Workers Most at Risk

Craft workers, electricians, machine operators and laborers are among the millions of workers who service equipment routinely and face the greatest risk of injury.

About the Standard

All equipment installed, replaced, or having had a major repair, renovation, or modification after January 2, 1990, must be designed to accept a lockout device. In accordance with 29 CFR 1910.147(c)(3)(i) and (ii), tagout devices can only be used as energy isolating device on equipment that is capable of being locked out if the employer can demonstrate that a level of safety is achieved in the tagout program which is equivalent to the level of safety obtained by using a lockout program. As a best practice, NIOSH recommends the application of a lockout device and a tag with the identity of the authorized employee performing the work.

Control of Hazardous Energy

The following steps should be taken to protect workers from hazardous energy:

  • Proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from hazardous energy releases. The LOTO standard establishes the employer’s responsibility to protect workers from hazardous energy. 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.
  • All employees who work in an area where energy control procedure(s) are utilized need to be instructed in the purpose and use of the energy control procedure(s), especially prohibition against attempting to restart or reenergize machines or other equipment that are locked or tagged out.
  • All employees who are authorized to lockout machines or equipment and perform the service and maintenance operations need to be trained in recognition of applicable hazardous energy sources in the workplace; the type and magnitude of energy found in the workplace; and the means and methods of isolating and/or controlling the energy.
  • Retraining of all employees to maintain proficiency or introduce new or changed control methods.

A Fatality Due to a Release of Hazardous Energy

The NIOSH FACE Program and the California Department of Public Health investigated a fatality in which a foreman was crushed between moving parts of a baling machine while he was clearing debris out of the machine.

From a NIOSH Workplace Solutions pamphlet entitled, Conducting a Periodic Inspection for Each Procedure in a Hazardous Energy Control (Lockout/Tagout) Program:1

Portions of the machine’s moving parts, including the magazine area, were enclosed by a six-foot metal enclosure with access gates. The access gates were equipped with an interlock sensor so that the machine would shut off when the gates were opened. The hay baler was installed at the company by the manufacturer. The hay baler operator controlled the machine at a computerized panel. A bale of hay was automatically loaded onto the hay baler, to be resized. The bales were compressed, tied, weighed, and removed for storage and shipment. A magazine kicker arm moved the hay bale to an area for pickup after it had been compressed and tied. The baling machine used electrical and hydraulic energy to operate (a multi-energy source piece of equipment).

Before the incident, the victim told the machine operator that he was going to clean the baler with compressed air. The victim likely entered the magazine area through the access gate. It is not known whether the victim disabled the interlock sensor so the machine would not shut off when he opened the gate. The machine operator stated that he was at the control panel at the time of the incident; he was not aware that the victim was in the magazine area. A forklift operator noticed the victim in the magazine area between the kicker arm and the magazine frame. The kicker arm was manually operated to release the victim. The machine did not shut down at the time of the incident. The victim was transported to a hospital where he died from his injuries.

The company had not developed or implemented a written hazardous energy control program including specific procedures for locking out equipment to include the hay baling machine. Specific written procedural steps for shutting down, isolating, blocking, and securing machines or equipment to control hazardous energy are required for equipment that has multiple sources of energy. The California FACE investigator recommended developing and implementing a comprehensive hazardous energy control program including lockout/tagout procedures and training. WMHS




View OSHA standards and documents related to control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout) at:


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