Lockout/tagout (29 CFR 1910.147) was the fifth most frequently cited OSHA violation during the period October 2014 to September 2015. There were 3,350 citations reported across all industries during that time with $9,686,894 in penalties.

The OSHA standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) addresses the practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment, preventing the release of hazardous energy while employees perform servicing and maintenance activities. The standard outlines measures for controlling hazardous energies—electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, and other energy sources.

According to OSHA, most citations in this area occur when an employer fails to have an energy control program, does not properly train employees on proper procedures or does not periodically inspect energy control procedures.

The top three spots for largest amount of citations and penalties were in the manufacturing sector. Other sectors with high numbers of citations include wholesale trade; administrative and support and waste management and remediation services; construction; other services (except public administration); retail trade; transportation and warehousing; agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting; arts, entertainment and recreation; mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction.

At the top of the most cited industries was fabricated metal product manufacturing with 589 citations and $1,259,928 in penalties. Next were food manufacturing with 345 citations and $1,275,741 in penalties and plastics and rubber products manufacturing with 280 citations and $810,014 in penalties.

Completing the top 10 most cited industries were wood product manufacturing (246 citations and $475,987 in penalties); machinery manufacturing (174 citations and $547,377 in penalties); primary metal manufacturing (147 citations and $554,855 in penalties); merchant wholesalers, durable goods (131 citations and $232,598 in penalties); chemical manufacturing (122 citations with $415,206 in penalties); transportation equipment manufacturing (120 citations with $407,738 in penalties); and furniture and related product manufacturing (96 citations and $677,655 in penalties).

Required training

Failure to control hazardous energy accounts for nearly 10 percent of the serious accidents in many industries. Proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from hazardous energy releases. Employers are also required to train each worker to ensure that they know, understand and are able to follow the applicable provisions of the hazardous energy control procedures.

 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.

Under the standard, some of the critical requirements employers must follow include:

•           Develop, implement and enforce an energy control program.

•           Use lockout devices for equipment that can be locked out. Tagout devices may be used in lieu of lockout devices only if the tagout program provides employee protection equivalent to that provided through a lockout program.

•           Ensure that new or overhauled equipment is capable of being locked out.

•           Develop, implement and enforce an effective tagout program if machines or equipment are not capable of being locked out.

•           Develop, document, implement, and enforce energy control procedures.

•           Use only lockout/tagout devices authorized for the particular equipment or machinery

•           Ensure that devices are durable, standardized and substantial.

•           Comply with the additional energy control provisions in OSHA standards when machines or equipment must be tested or repositioned, when outside contractors work at the site, in group lockout situations, and during shift or personnel changes.