OSHA’s lockout/tagout (LOTO) standard establishes the employer’s responsibility to protect employees from hazardous energy releases on machines and equipment during service and maintenance. The standard gives employers the flexibility to develop an energy control program suited to the needs of their particular workplaces and the types of machines and equipment being maintained or serviced.

OSHA has produced a Control of Hazardous Energy – Lockout/Tagout Publication (3120) that highlights OSHA’s Lockout/Tagout standard and outlines some of the most critical requirements for employers, including:

  • Develop, implement and enforce an energy control program when machines and equipment are being maintained or serviced.
  • Use lockout devices for equipment that can be locked out.
  • Use tagout devices only if they provide employee protection equivalent to lockout devices.
  • Provide effective training as mandated for all employees covered by the standard.

Training is vital to ensure that employees understand and can follow the applicable provisions of the hazardous energy control procedures. All employees who work in an area where energy control procedure(s) are utilized need to be instructed in the purpose and use of the energy control procedure(s), especially prohibition against attempting to restart or reenergize machines or other equipment that are locked or tagged out. Employees who are authorized to lockout machines or equipment and perform the service and maintenance operations need to be trained in recognition of applicable hazardous energy sources, the type and magnitude of energy and the means and methods of isolating and/or controlling the energy.

For more information, visit OSHA’s Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) webpage.