Procedures for Locking Out Hazardous Equipment

Posted on 7/2/2013 by Joel Gregier

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires workers to follow specific procedures when disabling machinery or equipment during service and maintenance. Commonly called “lockout/tagout,” the goal of these rules is to prevent the release of potentially hazardous energy. Working on a machine that is still powered on can be very dangerous. When a machine is powered down for service or maintenance, non-maintenance employees should be aware that the machinery is off limits for normal use.
OSHA has a step-by-step process for both “application of control” (i.e., powering down a machine and affixing a lockout/tagout device) and “release from lockout or tagout” (i.e., removing the lockout/tagout device and starting the machine back up). The rules for these can be found at 29 CFR 1910.147(d)-(e).
Affixing a Lockout/Tagout Device
Lockout devices (i.e., blank flanges, bolted slip blinds, and key or combination locks) have specific requirements that they must meet. One of those requirements is that they must be “identifiable,” meaning that they indicate the identity of the employee applying the device. [29 CFR 1910.147(c)(5)(ii)(D)]
Lock Tag out Hazardous Equipment
There is nothing in the rules that prevents multiple employees from using the same lock, but employers must provide a means of durably marking the employee’s name depending on who is locking out the machinery. Some companies may even choose to have locks assigned to specific employees.
Removing a Lockout/Tagout Device
Lockout/tagout devices may only be removed by the authorized employee who applied the device. There is an exception for this when the authorized employee is unavailable to remove it, but several requirements must be met.
The device may be removed under the direction of the employer, provided that specific procedures and training for such removal has been developed, documented, and incorporated into the employer’s energy control program.
In addition, the employer must be able to demonstrate that:
  • The authorized employee is not at the facility,
  • Reasonable efforts have been made to contact the authorized employee and inform him or her that the lockout/tagout device has been removed, and
  • The authorized employee has this knowledge before he or she resumes work at the facility. [29 CFR 1910.147(e)(3)]
RCRA Hazardous Waste Training Banner
Following established lockout/tagout procedures for machinery is critical to protect employees from serious on-the-job injuries and even death. Ensure your team is prepared to identify and protect themselves from the hazards at your facility with convenient, easy-to-use online courses from Lion Technology. See the full catalog of online courses, available 24/7, at

Tags: best, osha, practices

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

I have attended other training providers, but Lion is best. Lion is king of the hazmat jungle!!!

Henry Watkins

Hazardous Waste Technician

Excellent. I learned more in two days with Lion than at a 5-day program I took with another provider.

Francisco Gallardo

HES Technician

My experience with Lion training, both online and in the classroom, is that they are far better organized and provide a better sequential explanation of the material.

Robert Roose

Manager, Dangerous Goods Transportation

Lion's course was superior to others I have taken in the past. Very clear in the presentation and the examples helped to explain the content presented.

George Bersik

Hazardous Waste Professional

The instructor was very dedicated to providing a quality experience. She did her best to make sure students were really comprehending the information.

Stephanie Venn

Inventory Control Specialist

Lion was very extensive. There was a lot of things that were covered that were actually pertaining to what I do and work with. Great Job. I will be coming back in three years!

Tony Petrik

Hazmat Shipping Professional

These are the best classes I attend each year. I always take something away and implement improvements at my sites.

Kim Racine

EH&S Manager

The instructor did an excellent job presenting a very dry subject; keeping everyone interested and making it enjoyable.

Marc Bugg

Hazardous Waste Professional

I can take what I learned in this workshop and apply it to everyday work and relate it to my activities.

Shane Hersh

Materials Handler

Given the choice, I would do all coursework this way. In-person courses go very fast without the opportunity to pause or repeat anything.

Ellen Pelton

Chemical Laboratory Manager

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

Some limited quantity reliefs are reserved for specific modes of transport. Use this guide to identify which reliefs you can capitalize on, and which do not apply to your operations.

Latest Whitepaper

By submitting your phone number, you agree to receive recurring marketing and training text messages. Consent to receive text messages is not required for any purchases. Text STOP at any time to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. View our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.