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

Ranking: 6

A Workplace Story

From an Oregon Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (OR-FACE) report:

Although there was no one nearby to witness what happened when a 23-year-old rubber cutter’s head was caught between bars of operating machinery, circumstances suggested that he entered a festoon rubber processing area to retrieve and redirect a rubber strip on a cooling bar that had passed the point where it should have fed onto a conveyor. It is believed that the worker raised his head between the moving cooling bars, and that the bars then forced his head against a structural support for an electrical panel. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

OR-FACE investigators found the following key contributing factors:

Inadequate equipment safeguard

Inadequate lockout/tagout program and training

Inadequate hazard assessment and knowledge of safeguarding equipment

Inadequate training and assessing workplace hazards

They concluded that to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should:

Safeguard machinery to protect machine operators and others who work in the area from hazards.

Implement, enforce, and assess “control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout)” procedures for machines, equipment and processes where unexpected energization or start-up could cause harm to personnel.

The Numbers

Enforcement from October 2019 through September 2020

Total citations: 1,821

Total inspections: 1,026

Total proposed penalties: $11,962,667

Industries most often violating LOTO standard:

Manufacturing (part 3 of 3): $2,767,636

Manufacturing (part 2 of 3): $3,524,980

Manufacturing (part 1 of 3): $3,329,338

Wholesale Trade: $834,267

Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services: $357,927

Other Services (except Public Administration): $244,676

Transportation and Warehousing (2 of 2): $211,054

Construction: $123,625

Retail Trade (part 1 of 2): $148,410

Accommodation and Food Services: $68,759


The Lockout/Tagout Standard helps protect workers from hazardous energy while they are performing service or maintenance on machine and equipment. This rule requires, in general, that before machinery or equipment is serviced, it must be turned off and disconnected from the energy source and locked or tagged out. Covered workplaces must develop a written energy control program and put it to use. If your employees service or maintain machines where the unexpected startup, energization or the release of stored energy could cause injury, the standard likely applies to you. The standard applies to all sources of energy, including, but not limited to mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical and thermal energy. The standard does not cover the agriculture, construction and maritime industries or oil and gas well drilling and servicing.


A hazardous energy control program should include:

  • A designated program coordinator
  • Hazardous energy control training for employees. Training in lockout will be given to all new employees as a part of their orientation. Retraining will be conducted whenever there is a change in job assignment, a change in machinery or equipment or process change that presents a new hazard.
  • Training records of employees will be maintained by the program coordinator.
  • The coordinator will also maintain a listing of all equipment and machines that fall under the hazardous energy control program
  • An adequate supply of lockout devices (padlocks) and DANGER tags for use each time a lockout process is performed. These shall be used only for energy control. Prior to the servicing or maintenance of equipment a padlock and DANGER warning tag will be obtained from the Program Coordinator. Each padlock will be keyed differently with no master key or duplicate keys available.
  • All equipment must be locked out to protect against accidental or inadvertent operation, when operation could cause injury to personnel. Locks are to be applied and removed only by the authorized employee who is performing the servicing or maintenance.
  • No one should attempt to operate locked-out equipment.
  • Disciplinary action will be applied if any employee violates these procedures, regardless of whether or not physical harm or equipment damage results.
  • At least annually, the Program Coordinator will verify the effectiveness of the energy control procedures.

Specific procedures will be followed for lockout:

  • If the machine/equipment is in operation, shut it down by the normal shutdown procedure.
  • Operate the appropriate switch, valve, etc., so that the machine/equipment is isolated from the energy source.
  • Lock the energy isolating devices, using assigned locks and danger tags.
  • Release, restrain or dissipate any stored energy.
  • Verify that energy isolation is complete, by attempting to start the affected machinery or equipment in the normal manner.
  • After testing, return all operation controls to the “neutral” or “off” positions.

Restoration to normal:

  • After service or maintenance is complete, check the area to ensure that no employees are exposed.
  • Remove all tools and repair equipment.
  • Ensure that all guards have been replaced and all safety interlocks reactivated (if so equipped).
  • Verify that the operating controls are in the “off” or neutral position.
  • Remove all lockout and tag devices and activate the energy isolation devices to restore energy. WMHS

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