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OSHA’s standard on the control of hazardous energy (the OSHA lockout/tagout standard) appears often on the agency’s list of most violated standards. Lockout/tagout training and practice is crucial to keeping your employees safe and in compliance.

Turn to J. J. Keller to help educate and protect your employees so they understand:

  • When and where the standard applies
  • Lock out and tag out procedures for energy control
  • The duties of authorized, affected and other employees
  • The difference between lockout and tagout
  • The different types of procedures and lockout devices and tags that are available
  • How to apply best practices

See below for essential solutions and helpful resources to help your employees practice safe lockout/tagout.

Topics — What You Need to Know

In general, yes. OSHA says you have to document your lockout/tagout procedures. This makes sense because they’re instructions the mechanics have to follow when they do repairs.

OSHA only allows you to not have a written lockout procedure when the machine only has one energy supply that’s easy to identify and lock out. The machine can’t have any potential for stored energy. Locking that one energy isolating device completely de-energizes the machine. The authorized employee has to lock out the energy supply, and he has to be the only person in control of the lock. Aside from this, the work being done can’t create any hazards for other employees in the area, and you can’t have had any accidents involving repairs to that machine.

"Verification" is the final step in a lockout/tagout procedure. One way to do this is to try to start and run the machine using the operating controls. Part of this step could also be checking to be sure you have the locks and tags attached where they belong and that the energy isolating devices are in the "off" position. You might also have to check gauges or use test equipment to check temperatures, pressures, or to check for the presence of gases, vapors, or liquid. Remember that if there’s more than one person working on the machine, each authorized employee should verify the lockout.

The lockout/tagout standard doesn’t apply when you "decommission" equipment or put machines "out of service." The main concern is probably that someone would try to start a machine that you don’t want to run anymore, for whatever reasons.

The lockout/tagout standard says that you can’t use lockout/tagout equipment for any other purpose, so if you aren’t actually doing repairs or servicing work on this equipment, you shouldn’t use lock out/tag out equipment on it.

To keep out-of-service machinery from being used, you might consider physically disconnecting it from its energy supplies. Dismantle it so that it isn’t hooked up to any energy anymore and it’s completely unable to be operated.

You could attach a tag such as "Do not use without authorization" or something similar onto the machine’s controls to show that you don’t want employees to operate that machine. This isn’t the same as following a tagout procedure – the tag is on the controls and not the energy isolating devices, and the tag doesn’t include a tagout warning statement. This method gives employees an instruction, and to be most effective you should inform your workers that this is how you’re going to identify equipment that isn’t supposed to be used.

You could also use padlocks to keep "off limit" equipment from being used, but make sure the locks you use can’t be mistaken as lockout locks. And again, inform employees about what the locks are for.


Lockout/Tagout: What’s the Big Deal?

Employers are responsible for ensuring the safety of their employees when hazardous energy is involved. Those employees who service or maintain machines or equipment could be exposed to serious physical harm – or even death – if hazardous energy is not properly controlled. It’s up to you to comply with OSHA’s lockout/tagout standard and keep your employees safe.

employees who service equipment and face greatest risk
prevented each year by proper lockout/tagout
prevented yearly due to lockout/tagout practices
average days lost while recovering from hazardous energy exposure

Hazardous Energy Risks





*Information gathered from OSHA’s Lockout/Tagout Fact Sheet.

Lockout and Tagout Solutions

Get the solutions you need to comply with lockout/tagout requirements, including lock out tag out labels, posters, signs, training & much more – all from the leading industry experts.

Lockout/Tagout Training

Train authorized, affected and other employees with programs in a variety of formats.

Lockout Devices and Kits

Choose from a wide array of kits and supplies, including dozens of lockout devices.

Lockout Tags

Browse hundreds of lockout tags as well as accident prevention tags.

Lockout/Tagout Labels

Shop labels in several sizes and materials to meet your needs.

Lockout/Tagout Signs

Make lock out and tag out safety messages visible for your employees.

J. J. Keller® Safety Management Suite

Replacing our previous safety solution, KellerOnline®, SMS provides safety management system tools and applications to help drive performance, reduce risk and ensure compliance.

OSHA Compliance Program

Ongoing on-site guidance and resources for improving workplace compliance.

Awareness Posters

Remind employees about the importance of lockout/tagout.