OSHA Cracks Down on Lockout Procedures Across Industries

Posted on 5/13/2019 by Lauren Scott

Lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedures are crucial to protect workers from an unexpected release of hazardous energy during machinery maintenance, servicing, and use. LOTO violations ranked fifth on OSHA’s Top Ten Most Cited 29 CFR Safety Violations in 2018.

OSHA has issued more than 10,000 LOTO citations since 2014. In addition to the penalties paid for safety violations—which increased significantly in 2016—preventable workplace incidents involving the release of stored energy cost companies millions in lost productivity, workers’ medical expenses, and insurance costs.
Let’s review two recent OSHA citations that involved lockout/tagout violations to see how these procedures can save lives at any facility where employees maintain or service machinery.


What Is Hazardous Energy? What Is Lockout/Tagout?

OSHA defines hazardous energy as the “unexpected startup or release of stored energy.” When this hazardous energy is released during maintenance or servicing, whether it’s electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, chemical, or otherwise, it can badly injure or even kill the employee(s) working on the machine. According to OSHA, failure to control hazardous energy accounts for almost 10 percent of serious accidents across many industries.

Lockout/tagout is the industry standard for controlling hazardous energy. An effective LOTO strategy involves the use of lockout devices for equipment that can be locked out (i.e., physically restrained or blocked from starting up or releasing energy).

“Tagout” refers to the use of tags, which may be used when a lock is not compatible. Tags provide a warning for employees, but do not physically stop the machine from moving the way a lock does.

OSHA’s regulations at 29 CFR 1910.147 lay out employers’ responsibilities for protecting workers from the release of hazardous energy by implementing safety procedures and training workers on how to use the LOTO system (see 29 CFR 1910.174(c)(7)).

Plastics Facility – Picayune, MS

An employee at a plastics manufacturer lost four fingers because of the company’s failure to use a lockout device and properly train its workers, OSHA alleges. The employee was reaching into a mixing machine to remove material when the machine unexpectedly started, resulting in the amputation.

The company has been fined $159,118 for what OSHA says was a “willful violation,” meaning the plastics manufacturer knowingly failed to comply with legal requirements or acted with indifference to employee safety.
The worker in this case was fortunate to escape this incident without worse injury. Had the machine been locked out properly and the employee trained to know the risk, this severe injury could have been prevented.

Popcorn Manufacturer – Sioux City, IA

The Iowa division of OSHA issued 20 violations as well as a $47,513 penalty to a US popcorn maker for failing to train workers, to ensure proper LOTO procedures were followed, and to implement adequate confined space safety procedures, among other violations.

Seven of the 20 violations specifically addressed inadequate LOTO procedures. The citation claims that the company failed to develop and implement LOTO guidelines, inspect LOTO devices, and provide training, including refresher training, to employees.

OSHA regulations require re-training whenever there is a change in a worker’s job assignment, a change in machines, or a change in equipment or processes that present a new hazard. Re-training is also required when the employer changes its energy control procedures or when an employee exhibits inadequate knowledge or use of energy control procedures.

Safety Training Is the Best Accident Prevention

When workers know the regulations behind your safety procedures, they are less likely to cut corners, reducing the chance of accidents and preventing costly OSHA violations.

Meet OSHA's Lockout/Tagout training requirement with the Lockout/Tagout online training. In addition to learning the basics of LOTO systems from the 29 CFR regulations, employees develop an understanding of risks associated with hazardous energy, site-specific energy control procedures, application, removal, and transfer of LOTO devices, and best practices for training and re-training workers on these procedures.

The Lockout/Tagout online safety course is now available for $29. Learn more about the training here or call (888) 546-6511 to sign up today.

Tags: hazardous energy, lockout, LOTO, osha, safety, safety violations, tagout, worker safety

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

The instructor's energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge of the subject make the class a great learning experience!

Brian Martinez

Warehouse Operator

I like the consistency of Lion workshops. The materials are well put together and instructors are top notch!

Kevin Pylka

Permitting, Compliance & Environmental Manager

Attending Lion Technology classes should be mandatory for every facility that ships or stores hazmat.

Genell Drake

Outbound Lead

I chose Lion's online webinar because it is simple, effective, and easily accessible.

Jeremy Bost

Environmental Health & Safety Technician

Very good. I have always appreciated the way Lion Tech develops, presents and provides training and materials.

John Troy

Environmental Specialist

Best course instructor I've ever had. Funny, relatable, engaging; made it interesting and challenged us as the professionals we are.

Amanda Schwartz

Environmental Coordinator

The course was very informative and presented in a way that was easily understood and remembered. I would recommend this course.

Jeffrey Tierno

Hazmat Shipping Professional

The online course was well thought out and organized, with good interaction between the student and the course.

Larry Ybarra

Material Release Agent

The instructor was great, explaining complex topics in terms that were easily understandable and answering questions clearly and thoroughly.

Brittany Holm

Lab Supervisor

This was the 1st instructor that has made the topic actually enjoyable and easy to follow and understand. Far better than the "other" training providers our company has attended!

Lori Hardy

Process & Resource Administrator

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

In most cases, injuries that occur at work are work-related and must be recorded to maintain compliance with OSHA regulations. This report shows you the 9 types of injuries you don’t record.

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.