- Record Type: Interpretation
- Standard Number: 1910.147
- Subject: Clarification of
the Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) Standard.
- Information Date:1996
June 20, 1996
Mr. Neil Wasser
Constangy, Brooks & Smith
Attorneys At Law
230 Peachtree Street, N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-1557
Dear Mr. Wasser:
This is in response to your June
10, 1994 letter, requesting clarification of The Control of
Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) Standard, 29 CFR 1910.147.
Your workplace scenarios and corresponding questions and our
replies follow. Please accept our apology for the delay in
Scenario 1: Occupational Safety
and Health Administration (OSHA) Instruction STD 1-7.3, dated
September 1990, covers inspection procedures and interpretative
guidance on the Lockout/Tagout Standard. This instruction
provides, in pertinent part, that "Similar machines and/or
equipment (such as those using the same type and magnitude
of energy and the same or similar controls) can be covered
with a single written procedure" (Subparagraph I.2.c.). Subparagraph
H.3.b. of OSHA Instruction STD 1-7.3 provides that the common
procedure must identify the equipment "at least by type and
location." A company has a number of machines that are identical
or nearly identical (with consistent energy isolating methods
and device locations) located throughout the facility.
Question 1: Is it permissible
for the employer to identify the machines covered by a particular
common energy control procedure by type and model number rather
than by type and location?
Reply: The general objective
of this portion of the standard is to ensure that employees
have the information they must know to perform lockout or
tagout safely on a machine or group of machines. Any method
of identification which ensures that an authorized employee
can determine which energy control procedure applies to the
particular machine or group of machines on which servicing
and maintenance is to be performed is acceptable to OSHA.
When the same energy control procedure
can be used to perform servicing and maintenance on all
the same type machines or equipment in a workplace, those
machines or equipment may be identified by type and model
number rather than by type and location. In other situations,
however, identification by type and location may be necessary,
since energy control procedures for machines or equipment
of a particular type may differ based on their application
or how they are installed.
Scenario 2: Paragraph 1910.147(c)(7)(i)(A)
of the Lockout/Tagout Standard provides that each authorized
employee "receive training in the recognition of hazardous
energy sources, the type and magnitude of the energy in the
workplace and the methods and means necessary for the energy
isolation and control." A facility has 600 separate written
energy control procedures (the company has developed a specific
procedure for every piece of equipment) and 150 servicing
and maintenance employees who may be called upon to utilize
the procedures. Each of the written energy control procedures
follows the steps set out in paragraphs 1910.147(c)(9), (d),
Question 2a: To what extent,
if any, must authorized employees be trained on specific energy
Reply: Authorized employees
must be initially trained and retrained so as to ensure that
they have the skills and knowledge of safe application, use,
and removal of lockout or tagout controls called for in each
energy control procedure. Each authorized employee must be
able to safely perform the work required in any energy control
procedure which he or she is called upon to use, however rarely.
Question 2b: Is it sufficient
for the employer to train authorized employees using a sampling
of written energy control procedures provided the training
specifically addresses the precise location (emphasis added)
of the written energy control procedures and the requirements
of paragraph 1910.147(c)(7)(i)(A)?
Reply: Where a large number
of procedures exist, and where they are closely similar, training
may be based on a sample of those procedures. But the sample
may not be entirely random it must include all the skills,
knowledge and techniques which the authorized employee is
required to know and to use. And, while knowing the location
of written energy control procedures and the location of the
machines and equipment to which they apply is essential, such
knowledge is not equivalent to knowing the procedures themselves.
In short, each authorized employee must be trained such that
he or she knows his or her responsibilities when using the
specific energy control procedure which is required to perform
servicing and maintenance on specific machine(s) or equipment.
Scenario 3a: Paragraph 1910.147(c)(7)(iii)(A)
requires retraining "whenever there is a change in their job
assignments, a change in machines, equipment or processes
that present a new hazard, or when there is a change in the
energy control procedure." A company has hundreds of energy
control procedures that are periodically revised. All of these
energy control procedures follow the steps specified in paragraph
1910.147(c)(9), 1910.147(d), and 1910.147(e).
Question 3a: If there are
changes in machines or equipment or processes that present
no new hazards not currently in the workplace, is there any
employer obligation for additional training? If so, please
provide the level of detail necessary.
Reply: Changes in machines
or equipment, ordinarily, will result in changed job assignments
or changed energy control procedures, or both. In such situations,
retraining is required to account for any differences in the
machine(s) or equipment or how they are used, and in the energy
control procedures which apply to them.
Scenario 3b: An authorized
employee is transferred from Department B to Department A
within a facility. The energy control procedures follow the
same format in all departments. This authorized employee has
lockout training. Also, there are no new hazards in Department
Question 3b: Are there any
employer lockout/tagout retraining obligations other than
reviewing with the authorized employee (portrayed in the above
scenario) where the applicable energy control procedures can
Reply: If the transfer leads
to changed job assignment, retraining is required. Such retraining
is required to address new, additional or different energy
control procedures which the authorized employee is required
to perform. If the format of the energy control procedure
changes with the assignment (e.g., from hard copy to CD-ROM/Video),
retraining must ensure that the employee is able to obtain
the information he or she needs in order to perform the procedures.
Question 3c: What documentation,
if any, is needed to evidence employee retraining?
Reply: The employer must certify
that employee training (including retraining) has been accomplished
and is being kept up to date. The certification must contain
each employee's name and the relevant date(s) of training.
Employer-certified employment records that indicate that an
employee has received the required training and retraining
may be used to meet this requirement.
Scenario 4a: Section 1910.147(c)(6)
addresses "periodic inspections."
Under paragraph 1910.147(c)(6)(i)
an employer is required to conduct "a periodic inspection
of the energy control procedure at least annually to ensure
that the procedure and the requirements of the standard are
being followed." Under paragraph 1910.147(c)(6)(i)(C), the
periodic inspection "shall include a review, between the inspector
and each authorized employee, and the employee's responsibilities
under the energy control procedure being inspected." A facility
which has 600 separately written energy control procedures
(one for every piece of equipment) and 150 maintenance employees
who may be called to utilize the procedures is assumed.
Question 4a: What must the
periodic inspection encompass? Would an employer be in compliance
with the periodic inspection requirements by selecting days
throughout the year to perform periodic inspections?
Also, do periodic inspections
have to be performed on all 600 energy control procedures
and involve all authorized employees?
Reply: Under the requirements
of paragraph 1910.147(c)(6)(i), the employer is required to
conduct a periodic inspection of the energy control procedure
[required under paragraph 1910.147(c)(4)]. OSHA interprets
this to mean that each energy control procedure must be separately
inspected at least annually.
Also, under the requirements
of paragraph 1910.147(c)(6)(i), the periodic inspection must
include a review of the employee's responsibilities under
the energy control procedure being inspected. OSHA interprets
this to mean that there must be a review between an authorized
employee designated by the employer as the "inspector" and
all other authorized employees (and all affected
employee when tagout is used to control energy) of the employee's
responsibilities under the periodic inspection being inspected.
See the enclosed copy
of OSHA's September 19, 1995 letter to the Law Offices of
Keeler and Hackman (Mr. Lawrence P. Halprin) which provides
further periodic inspection clarification.
Scenario 4b: Many of the 600
energy control procedures addressed by Scenario 4a may be
used no more than once or twice a year. Paragraph I.5.a.(1)
of the OSHA Instruction STD 1-7.3 provides that "group meetings
between the authorized employee who is performing the inspection
and all authorized employees who implement the procedure would
constitute compliance" with 1910.147(c)(6)(i).
Question 4b: How could the
provisions of paragraph I.5.a.(1) be applied to Scenario 4b
such that the employer would be in compliance with the 1910.147(c)(6)
periodic inspection requirement?
Reply: "Review" under the
paragraph 1910.147(c)(6)(i) periodic inspection requirements
may be completed in one or more meetings in which all authorized
employees (as well as all affected employees when tagout is
used) will be in attendance to review the specific energy
control procedures, as the case may be.
Only the number of
employees necessary to perform the energy control procedure
is required when conducting, at least annually, the periodic
inspection of that procedure. This clarification is delineated
further in the enclosed letter referenced in our reply to
Question 4 above.
Scenario 5: Paragraph 1910.147(a)(2)
requires lockout when an "employee is required to remove or
bypass a guard or other safety device" or, when an employee
is required to place any part of his or her body into a point
of operation. An exception is provided in the lockout standard
for "minor tool changes and adjustments, and other minor servicing
activities which take place during normal production operations
. . . 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 . . .?
OSHA Instruction STD
1-7.3.I.1.e. explains the above provision of the standard
by stating, in pertinent part:
"Thus, lockout or tagout
is not required by this standard if the alternative measures
enable the servicing employee to clear or unjam, or otherwise
service the machine without being exposed to unexpected energization
or activation of the equipment, or the release of stored energy.
STD 1-7.3, Appendix
C, subparagraph A-4, provides examples of several alternative
"The safeguards described
include: interlocked barrier guards, presence sensing devices
and various devices under the exclusive control of the employee.
Such devices or guards, properly applied, may be used in clearing
jams and performing other minor servicing functions which
occur during normal production operations and which meet the
criteria described in paragraph A.2. of this appendix."
Question 5: Do the examples
described in my letter come within the scope of the minor
servicing exception to the lockout/tagout standard? If so,
do these examples meet the exception to the lockout standard?
Reply: The examples described
in your letter contain insufficient information to determine
whether or not they come within the scope of the minor servicing
exception delineated in the note at the end of paragraph 1910.147(a)(2)(ii).
See the enclosed copy of OSHA's September 16, 1992 letter
to The Printing Industries of America, Inc. (Mr. John Runyan)
which provides an excellent example of the level of information
necessary to determine applicability of the minor servicing
Scenario 6: Paragraph 1910.147(f)(2)(ii)
requires that whenever outside servicing personnel are to
be engaged in lockout or tagout activities, the on-site employer
must ensure that its "employees understand and comply with
the restrictions and prohibitions of the outside employer's
written energy control program."
Assume that an outside
employer reviews and follows the on-site employer's written
energy control procedures for the machines and equipment on
which outside employees will be performing servicing and maintenance.
This is viewed as a realistic approach from the standpoint
that the on-site employer is far more knowledgeable about
the various hazardous energy sources and corresponding isolating
devices than the outside employer. Thus, machines and equipment
on which outside employees are to perform servicing and maintenance
are locked out by on-site employees. The outside employee
then verify lockout effectiveness and assume control of the
machines and equipment using a lock box procedure.
Question 6: Would an on-site
employer whose employees meet the participate in lockout as
described above paragraph 1910.147(f)(2)(ii) requirement?
If not, please specify what the obligations of the on-site
employer are under this provision of the Lockout/Tagout Standard.
Reply: Both on-site and outside
employer obligations under 1910.147(f)(2) are addressed in
the preamble of the Final Rule (59 F.R. 36680 and 36681),
a copy of which is enclosed for your use. Please refer also
to STD 1-7.3, Appendix C (see paragraph B. on page C-2) for
procedures applicable to group lockout situations, such as
the one you described.
We appreciate your interest in employee
safety and health. If we can be of further assistance, please
contact the Office of General Industry Compliance Assistance,
Mr. Ronald J. Davies, telephone (802) 219-8031, extension
John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs