Lockout/tagout processes are required by OSHA standard 1910.147 to ensure safety every time a piece of machinery is being serviced or tested. The goal of lockout/tagout is to isolate energy sources from equipment when it is being serviced, and confirm that these energy sources do not accidentally get turned on or have their stored energy released while the equipment is being serviced or repaired.
Keeping up with lockout/tagout is challenging for many facilities. In fact, OSHA’s lockout/tagout standard was one of the most cited regulations in 2022 for the 28th year in a row. In manufacturing, it continues to be the most cited regulation. Many manufacturing lockout programs are compliant at first, then become non-compliant over time as things change within their facilities and they get behind on updating procedures.
Remember that your machine-specific lockout procedures must be updated every time changes are made to your equipment. In addition, employees must be trained on these new procedures. Audits can be challenging to keep up with, but it’s critical to stay on top of your procedures so you can stay compliant and achieve a safe work environment for all of your employees.
It’s important to note that the lockout standard has eight criteria to determine what equipment requires lockout procedures.
Make sure to read each exemption criterion carefully before you decide not to move forward with a lockout/tagout procedure for any piece of equipment. For example, if you meet seven criteria but miss the eighth one, you risk getting a citation and, worse, putting your employees at risk of getting injured while a piece of equipment is being serviced.