1995 - An interpretation of the periodic inspection requirements
of the control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout) standard.
- Record Type: Interpretation
- Standard Number: 1910.147
- Subject: An interpretation of
the periodic inspection requirements of the control of hazardous
energy (lockout/tagout) standard.
- Information Date:1995
October 19, 1995
Mr. Stuart Charlson
Krukowski & Costello, S.C.
Attorneys at Law
7111 West Edgerton Avenue
P.O. Box 28999
Milwaukee, WI 53220
Dear Mr. Charlson:
This is in response to your August 21 letter
requesting interpretation of the periodic inspection requirements
under paragraph 1910.147(c)(6) of the control of hazardous energy
(lockout/tagout) standard. Please accept our apology for the delay
Enclosed is a copy of the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration letter dated September 19 to the
Law Offices of Keller and Hechman (Mr. Lawrence P. Halprin) which
includes periodic inspection clarifications as requested in your
letter. This was confirmed by an October 6 telecon between you and
Mr. Ronald Davies of my staff subsequent to your review of a copy
of the Halprin letter telefaxed previously by Mr. Davies.
We appreciate your interest in occupational
safety and health. If we can be of further assistance, please do
not hesitate to contact the Office of General Industry Compliance
Assistance, Mr. Davies, telephone (202) 219-8031, extension 110.
John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs
August 21, 1995
John B. Miles, Jr.
Director, Directorate of
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20210
Re: 1910.147 Lockout/Tagout Regulation
Dear Mr. Miles:
We recently received a copy of a memorandum
from William Wiehrdt, Assistant Regional Administrator in Region
V, to Mel Lischefski, Area Director in Appleton, Wisconsin, regarding
OSHA's interpretation of the periodic inspection requirements contained
in the Lockout/Tagout Standard, 29 CFR Sec. 1910.147(c)(6)(i) (copy
of memorandum attached). According to OSHA's analysis of the standard,
the preamble to the lockout/tagout standard and OSHA Instruction
STD 1-7.3, OSHA reached two conclusions:
1. All authorized employees
must be given at least annually an inspection of their hazardous
energy-controlled maintenance work; and
2. A sampling program which
inspects the performance of selected authorized employees does not
comply with the periodic inspection provisions of the lockout/tagout
Based on the issues discussed in that Memorandum
and the conclusions made by the agency, we request further interpretation
of this standard.
Question: Can an employer meet the
requirements of 1910.147(c)(6)(i) by conducting group meetings with
all authorized employees?
Sec. 1910.147(c)(6)(i) states that if lockout
is used for energy control, the periodic inspection "must include
a review, between the inspector and each authorized employee,
of that employee's responsibilities under the energy control procedure
being inspected." (emphasis added). The employer's certification
of inspection must identify the machine or equipment on which the
energy control procedure was being utilized, the date of the inspection,
the employees included in the inspection and the person performing
the inspection. According to OSHA Instruction STD 1-7.3(5)(a), the
inspection must include a demonstration of the procedures and a
review of the responsibilities of each authorized employee implementing
the procedure. Furthermore, it states that "group meetings between
the authorized employee who is performing the inspection and all
authorized employees who implement the procedure would constitute
compliance with this requirement."
The previously mentioned OSHA memorandum,
dated March 6, 1995, indicates that OSHA interprets this standard
to mean that each and every authorized employee's work must be inspected
at least annually by the inspector. This interpretation appears
to contradict the guidance provided in OSHA's Instruction STD 1-7.3
which clearly states that group meetings with all authorized employees
constitutes compliance with the standard. If the standard and the
instructional guidance are to be consistent, then group meetings
between an inspector and all authorized employees comply with 1910.147(c)(6)(i),
provided the inspection includes a review of the responsibilities
of each authorized employee and a demonstration of the energy control
Question: Does 1910.147(c)(6)(i)
require that all authorized employee demonstrate energy control
procedures during the periodic inspection?
As stated above, the lockout/tagout standard
requires that the preiodic inspection include a "review" of the
employee's responsibilities under the energy control procedures.
Generally, an inspector who observes deficiencies in authorized
employees understanding of the lockout/tagout program during the
period inspection will counsel the employees on the correct energy
control procedures. If several employees are performing maintenance
on a particular machine, the inspector may request that one employee
demonstrate the energy control procedures utilized on that machine,
while the other employees observe. The inspector will then review
the responsibilities of each authorized employee under the energy
control procedure being inspected. Likewise, the inspector may assemble
several authorized employees and request that one employee demonstrate
the lockout procedures while the others observe. In each case, all
employees are participating in a lockout demonstration and receive
feedback on the correct procedures.
In the OSHA Memorandum, dated March 6,
1995, Mr. Wiehrdt indicates that such a group meeting of employees
will not comply with 1910.147(c)(6)(i), since each authorized employee
in the group does not individually demonstrate the energy control
procedures for the inspector. Our readings of the regulation and
the interpretive guidance provided by the National office indicates
that OSHA does not require that every employee demonstrate lockout/tagout
procedures during the periodic inspection.
Based on our questions, we request that
your office provide additional interpretation of the periodic inspection
requirements contained in the Lockout/Tagout Standard.
Attached to this letter is the Memorandum
dated March 6, 1995 from William Wiehrdt to Mel Lischefski. If you
have any questions regarding our request, please feel free to call.
Your cooperation is appreciated.
Very truly yours,
KRUKOWSKI & COSTELLO, S.C.