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OSHA

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Selected Letters of Interpretation

OSHA Standards Interpretation and Compliance Letters

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 in responding.

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.

Sincerely,



John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs




August 21, 1995

John B. Miles, Jr.
Director, Directorate of
Compliance Programs
U.S. Department of Labor
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20210

Re: 1910.147 Lockout/Tagout Regulation Interpretation

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 standard.

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 procedures.

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.



Stuart Charlson



 

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