Regulations (Preambles to Final Rules) - Table of Contents|
| Record Type:||Control of Hazardous Energy Sources (Lockout/Tagout)|
| Title:||Section 6 - VI. Summary and Explanation of the Final Standard|
VI. Summary and Explanation of the Final Standard
There were 108 comments and 54 exhibits placed in the record of the Proposed Standard for the Control of Hazardous Energy Sources (Lockout/ Tagout) (53 FR 15496, April 28. 1988) and 16 parties participated in the public hearing. There was general agreement on the need for a comprehensive standard (Exhibits (Exs.) 2-1, 2-3, 2-4, 2-5, 2-8, 2-9, 2-12, 2-13, 2-21, 2-27, 2-29 2-34, 2-36, 2-38, 2-39, 2-40, 2-42, 2-50, 2-52, 2-53, 2-55, 2-59, 2-64, 2-69, 2-70, 2-72, 2-73,2-74, 2-75, 2-77, 2-78,2-79, 2-80, 2-85, 2-87, 2-91, 2-95, 2-98, 2-100, 2-105, 2-106) with the major discussion centering around the form and the content that the Final Rules should take.
As previously discussed (see section entitled "Major Issues" above) OSHA has determined that the use of lockout for the control of hazardous energy is the more positive means of ensuring employee safety. The use of tagout, in lieu of lockout, requires the addition of certain elements of the program and the reinforcement of others to provide full employee protection.
This standard requires the adoption and utilization of standardized procedures and the implementation of safe work practices for the control of potentially hazardous energy during servicing and maintenance activities. It also requires the training of employees in the use of these practices and procedures. An Appendix is provided to serve as an aid in complying with the requirements of this section.
In paragraph (a), OSHA describes the scope, application and purpose of this Standard for the control of hazardous energy (lockout or tagout). The standard covers servicing and maintenance in general industry where the unexpected energization or start-up of machines or equipment or the release of stored energy could cause injury to employees. This Final Rule does not contain specifications which must be followed in all circumstances, but rather, provides flexibility for each employer to develop an effective program (procedures, training and inspections) which meets the needs of the particular workplace and the particular types of machines and equipment being maintained or serviced.
In their post-hearing comment, (Ex. 60) the AFL-CIO suggested adding the word "processes" to the words "machinery" and "equipment," to clarify that the standard is intended to cover piping systems as well as machinery and equipment. As discussed earlier, OSHA agrees that processes are covered by the standard, although the Agency felt that the use of the term "equipment" in the proposal was broad enough to cover all types of equipment, including process equipment. Further, had process and piping equipment not been within the scope of the standard, it would have been unnecessary to include a separate provision for "hot tap" operations, which are performed almost exclusively on process and piping equipment. However, in response to the comments, and as discussed elsewhere in this preamble, OSHA has revised several of the proposed provisions in the standard to refer directly to piping and process hazards and some of the unique aspects of controlling those hazards in the context of this generic rule. For example, many servicing operations involving process equipment utilize blinds and blank flanges as means of controlling hazardous energy in the process system. These blinds and flanges can be bolted in place, a method of securing which does not involve an actual lock, but which would be of comparable or greater difficulty to defeat either intentionally or inadvertently. OSHA believes that the bolting of blinds and flanges should be considered to be a "locking device" for the purposes of the standard, and has modified its proposed definition to reflect this determination. Since the standard requires that lockout and tagout devices identify the person that affixed (and is to be protected by) the device, the employer must develop and utilize a method to identify the persons that the bolted blinds and blank flanges are intended to protect. The use of individual tags or a group tag which provides for continuous individual accountability would meet this requirement.
Note: The following paragraphs highlight the Hot Topic: 1910.147 and 1910.269, 1910.333.
For the reasons discussed in the section entitled, "Major Issues", above, OSHA has determined that the present rulemaking effort should be limited in scope to general industry. Development of appropriate requirements for the control of hazardous energy procedures for construction, maritime, and agricultural employments will be considered for future rulemaking proceedings.
Secondly, OSHA has determined that certain installations under the exclusive control of electric utilities, as defined in paragraph (a)(1)(ii)(B), are not to be covered by this rule. These installations are intended to be covered separately by a new section, 1910.269, "Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution," which OSHA proposed on January 31, 1988 (54 FR 4974). Because of the nature of these electrical utility operations, 1910.269 will tailor the key provisions of this standard on lockout or tagout to meet the special safety needs of that industry. However, non-utility employers and workplaces that are engaged in the activities of power generation, transmission and distribution are covered by this standard and are not within the intended scope of 1910.269. Whether or not this suggested demarcation is reasonable is an issue which will be dealt with in that rulemaking proceeding.
In their post-hearing comment (Ex. 55), the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) contended that the forthcoming power generation standard should cover the servicing and maintenance of mechanical and hydraulic equipment in power plants. If such equipment is either an integral part of, or inextricably commingled with, power generation processes or equipment, OSHA agrees that the power generation standard will apply instead of the generic lockout/ tagout standard.
Further, OSHA states in paragraph (a)(1)(ii)(C) that exposure to electrical hazards from work on, near, or with conductors or equipment in electric utilization installations which is covered by Subpart S of Part 1910 also are excluded from coverage by this standard. OSHA intends coverage for this work to be provided instead in a separate rulemaking on "Electrical Safety Work Practices," which was proposed on November 30, 1987 (52 FR 45530) (new 1910.331 through 1910.335) as an amendment to Subpart S. Those proposed sections have their own provisions for dealing with lockout/ tagout situations, and for controlling employee exposure to hazardous electrical energy by the use of electrical protective equipment. They are based largely on a national consensus standard, NFPA 70E -- part 11, "Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces."
Similarly, paragraph (a)(1)(ii)(D) excludes oil and gas well drilling and servicing installations from coverage by this rule. These installations are intended to be covered separately by a new 1910.290, Oil and Gas Well Drilling and Servicing. A proposed 1910.290 was published on December 28, 1983 (48 FR 57202). The Agency is currently developing a revised proposal to reflect the information in the rulemaking record, which was submitted in response to the initial proposal. The hazards involving lockout or tagout that are unique to oil and gas well drilling and servicing will be given a complete evaluation during that rulemaking process and appropriate steps will be taken to control them.
Note: This ends the preamble sections that highlight the Hot Topic: 1910.147 and 1910.269, 1910.333.
One commenter (Ex. 2-54) recommended the exclusion of the machine manufacturing industry from this Final Rule. This commenter contended that the inclusion of the word "constructing" in the definition of "servicing or maintenance" would seriously endanger the ability of machine manufacturers to perform the initial construction, assembly and manufacture of machines.
During the assembly of equipment, it is normally not connected to any external power source, except when a temporary connection is made to effectuate adjustment, testing or try-out. The nature of machine manufacturing normally only requires the connection to an external power source to move parts in order to allow for the construction. Once the system has been completely assembled, it is necessary to do final testing or try-out of the system. Energization of the entire system is generally necessary to accomplish the testing. The system is then connected to external power sources and the testing undertaken. If the tests are unsuccessful or further assembly work is needed, the equipment should be disconnected from the external power source and then the additional work conducted. It is during the time when the equipment is being alternately energized and deenergized that the energy control means are particularly significant.
OSHA believes that disconnection of a machine or equipment from external power sources, as with cord and plug connected equipment, is a satisfactory method of isolating the equipment from the source of energy. OSHA also recognizes that testing with the power on is often necessary to ensure the proper assembly and functioning of all components. OSHA believes that workers "constructing" machinery and equipment need the same safeguards as other employees doing other servicing on maintenance operations. OSHA is, however, providing specific requirements in paragraph (f)(1) of this Final Rule for the safeguarding of employees during operations which require the alternate energization and deenergization of machines and equipment for testing and trouble shooting.
One commenter (Ex. 2-35) recommended that maintenance of medical equipment be excluded from this standard. This recommendation was predicated on the fact that maintenance and servicing of medical equipment is already covered by national consensus standards, that technical persons working on state-of-the-art medical equipment are highly trained professionals and that some equipment must be serviced while units are energized.
OSHA believes that national consensus standards, in and of themselves, do not ensure a safe and healthful workplace since they are not enforceable regulations. Compliance with specific provisions of such standards is voluntary except when OSHA incorporates them into its regulations. In addition, as previously discussed in this preamble even if the servicing employee is highly trained, his/her safety during the servicing operation may well be dependent on the actions of persons who are not as well trained. Other employees, upon finding a machine or equipment not operating, may attempt to start it, not realizing that they may be subjecting themselves or others to an increased risk of injury.
Note: The following paragraphs highlight the Hot Topic: 1910.147 and Subpart O.
In paragraph (a)(2)(i), the Final Rule states that the standard applies to servicing or maintenance of machines or equipment. These activities are defined in paragraph (b) to include activities such as constructing, installing, setting up, adjusting, inspecting, maintaining, repairing and servicing machines and equipment. These activities generally require the stoppage of the machine or equipment and the resulting discontinuance of the production process. It is during these activities that the machine or equipment must be isolated from the energy source and the energy isolating device disabled. It is also during these activities that employees are exposed to the unexpected energization, startup or release of stored energy against which the control procedures established in this standard are designed to provide protection.
Proper accomplishment of most servicing requires that the machine or equipment be shut down or turned off. However, simply shutting down the machine or equipment has not proven to prevent accidents when there is an unexpected energization or start up of the machine or equipment or the release of stored energy. The control of this hazardous energy is accomplished through the use of a standardized procedure which requires the shutting off of the machine or equipment, locating the energy isolating device and isolating the machine or equipment from the energy source, locking or tagging out the energy isolating device, reducing or eliminating stored or residual energy and then verifying the effectiveness of the energy isolation.
There was one commenter (Ex. 2-80) who suggested that this standard should apply before, during, and after servicing or maintenance is performed. The use of this language could be interpreted as meaning the standard should apply at all times since before and after do not denote a beginning or an end. OSHA believes that the steps required by this standard are considered part of the servicing activity, regardless of whether they take place before or after the specific work on the equipment has been performed. Based on this interpretation, the final standard requires the control of hazardous energy only during servicing or maintenance is being conducted.
There are some activities which are properly classified as servicing or maintenance but which are often performed during normal production operations. These activities include lubricating, cleaning, unjamming, and making minor adjustments and simple tool changes. In the proposed standard, OSHA suggested excluding these operations (paragraph (a)(2)(iii) stated, `when it is necessary to perform the activity and if the activity is performed using alternative measures which the employer can demonstrate are equally effective').
Two commenters (Ex. 2-44 and 2-80) stated that this exclusion was too broad and that there is difficulty in distinguishing between normal production operations and servicing or maintenance.
As discussed earlier, OSHA recognizes that machines and equipment present many hazards during their usage during normal production operations. These production hazards are addressed by the machine guarding standards, 1910.212 (general machine guarding standard) and 1910.219 (guarding power transmission apparatus). This standard is not intended to deal with these same hazards. However, if a servicing type activity happens to take place during production, such as unjamming the production equipment, the employee performing the servicing may be subjected to hazards which are not encountered as part of the production operation itself. These hazards may be manifested when the employee must either remove or bypass guards or other safety devices which were not designed or intended to be removed, when the employee is required to place any part of his or her body into an unguarded point of operation of the machine or equipment, or when an employee must reach into or enter an associated danger zone when a machine is operating.
In those circumstances, when there is potential for unexpected activation or energy release and the machine or equipment can be deenergized to perform the servicing, the standard requires that it be deenergized and be locked out or tagged out in accordance with the procedure required by this standard.
As was discussed in the preamble to the proposal, OSHA recognizes that some servicing operations must be performed with the power on; in these situations, it would not make sense to require lockout or tagout, which apply to deenergized equipment. The proposal contained a requirement that when servicing or maintenance must be performed with the equipment energized, the employer must use an alternative procedure which provides, in the language of the ANSI standard "effective protection." Paragraph 6.8 of the ANSI Z244.1-1982 (Ex. 9) states in part:
In the case of required minor adjustments where this (deenergization) is not feasible, or in the case of normal production operations, these activities shall be accomplished under the protection of specially designed control circuits, control equipment, and operating procedures, that provide proven effective protection for the affected personnel.
The proposed provision attracted considerable comment, particularly from the union participants, many of whom felt that it provided a "loophole" in the standard. OSHA believes that much of this concern was based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what this provision was intended to accomplish. For example, Mary Twedt, of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), (Tr. p. W1-183-900) testified about a serious injury that she had incurred while clearing a jam in a bacon slicing machine. She indicated that she had switched the machine off, but that a co-worker had inadvertently reactivated it while her hand was in the machine. However, there was no indication that it was necessary to perform that unjamming operation with the power on. (In fact, since Ms. Twedt did turn the machine's power off to clear the jam, OSHA assumes that it was not necessary to have the equipment energized at that time). Further, if it was necessary to keep the energy on, the proposal would have required the employer to use an alternative procedure to lockout or tagout which would provide protection.
In the testimony at the Houston hearing, the UAW contended that the "exemption" for normal production operations was too broadly drawn, and that it would be a "loophole" in the standard. Representatives of the UAW testified that they felt that the provision was unnecessary. Their reasoning essentially was that if alternative methods are used to keep the employee out of the danger zone or to eliminate the danger zone, there is nothing for the standard to cover, since the employee would not be exposed to a hazard. (Tr. p. H290-291). OSHA agrees in principle with this statement, but believes that the standard needs to cover these situations as well in order to provide comprehensive treatment of the hazards. The Agency also agrees that the proposed provision was not clear enough in indicating the types of operations which were covered by the standard, the types of operations which would not be covered by the standard, and the criteria to be applied to each situation. Therefore, the Agency has revised this provision in the Final Rule to deal with these problems.
In the Final Rule, OSHA is clarifying the intent behind the provision for servicing or maintenance which takes place during normal production operations. The general rule is that servicing or maintenance, as defined in paragraph (b), must be performed under lockout or tagout in accordance with a written procedure established under this standard. However, minor tool adjustments and changes or other minor servicing activities performed during normal production operations, are not covered by lockout or tagout requirements if the activities are routine repetitive and integral to the production operation, provided that there is an alternative means being used for employee protection in lieu of lockout or tagout which provide effective protection to employees.
OSHA emphasizes that this standard is not intended to cover the types of minor adjustments and other activities which are inherent in the production process. The machine guarding standards in subpart O cover these types of operations. The proposed rule included an exception for these types of operations, but OSHA has determined that there were two significant problems with the exception as proposed. First, the Agency believes that the provision was too broad as to the types of servicing or maintenance which would be excluded from the coverage of this standard. Proposed paragraph (a)(2)(iii) used the phrase "servicing or maintenance which takes place during normal production operations, such as lubricating, cleaning, and making minor adjustments and simple tool changes" to describe activities which would not be covered by this standard. OSHA's intention was to exclude from coverage those actions which would otherwise fit within the definition of "servicing or maintenance," but which are actually routine, repetitive actions which are integral to the operation of the equipment for production, and which are necessary to allow production to proceed without interruption. However, the language of the proposal could have been read more broadly, to exclude from coverage certain servicing operations which should not be considered to be part of "normal" production, and which should be performed with the equipment deenergized. OSHA has revised the proposed exclusion to clarify the limitations of the standard, and to provide more guidance as to the types of servicing activities which need not be performed under lockout or tagout. The second problem with the proposed exclusion was that it would have required the employer to demonstrate that it was necessary to perform the operation with the machine or equipment energized. The record reflects much concern about this provision, particularly with regard to the criteria to be applied in determining the necessity of having the equipment energized. OSHA emphasizes that this exclusion was intended to cover the types of routine, repetitive, minor servicing and adjustments which are integral to and necessary for the production process. The revised language in the Final Rule sets forth the criteria to be applied in determining whether a given servicing operation is covered by this standard, or whether it is to be considered a part of normal production operations, which require alternative means of protection.
Normal production operations, together with those minor servicing aspects which are also excluded from lockout or tagout coverage, continue to be covered by the machine guarding requirements of subpart O of part 1910. An example of the use of an alternative method of safeguarding which takes place during normal production operations and which would not require deenergization and lockout or tagout of an entire system involves the removal of a finished part from an injection molding machine. Once the machine has completed a cycle, opening the interlocked sliding gate guard prevents the machine from beginning another cycle until the operator reposition the guard. Similarly, when the operator stops a machine by using the stop/start controller, the use of interlocked movable guards which prevent activation of the machine while the guard is not in place satisfies this condition, provided that the means of control of the machine remains in the exclusive control of the person afforded the protection. This is necessary to ensure that no other person can restart the machine without the knowledge and consent of the person performing the servicing.
It must be emphasized that exclusion from lockout or tagout does not mean that the employer can avoid providing protection. As the exclusion itself makes clear, the work must be performed using alternative safeguarding measures which provide effective employee protection.. This will generally involve compliance with OSHA's machine guarding requirements throughout the production process.
In evaluating servicing performed during normal production operations, the first question to be asked is whether employees must remove or bypass fixed guards or otherwise expose themselves to the dangers of the unexpected release of hazardous energy. If no such exposure will occur, either because of the method in which the work is performed or because special tools, techniques, or other additional protection is provided, lockout or tagout is not required. If there is such exposure, the lockout or tagout requirements of this standard apply. However, if the servicing operation is routine, repetitive and must be performed as an integral part of the production process, lockout or tagout may not be necessary, because these procedures would prevent the machine from economically being used in production. OSHA will continue to treat these machine operations as being covered by the general machine guarding requirements of subpart O. The employer must provide appropriate safeguards to protect employees from the hazards of the point of operation, and the power transmission apparatus of the equipment when employees are exposed to hazards. The use of protective measures which prevent employee exposure to hazards, such as specially designed servicing tools and remote oilers, could satisfy the requirements of subpart O. Safeguarding for minor servicing during normal production operations also may include, for example, interlocked barrier guards, local disconnects or control switches which are under the exclusive control of the employee performing the minor servicing, provided they enable the employee to perform such minor servicing without being exposed to the unexpected energization or activation of the equipment or the release of stored energy.
The Final Rule, as did the proposal, also recognizes that there are some servicing operations in industry which require the equipment to be energized at least at some point during the servicing, for the purpose of testing or positioning the machinery or equipment or the components thereof. Where the energization is limited to those times, and is not shown to be necessary for the entire servicing operation, such servicing will generally be covered by the lockout or tagout requirements of this standard, but with the implementation of the special procedures set forth in paragraph (f)(1) for the temporary removal of lockout or tagout only when the machine or equipment must be energized.
The concept behind both the proposed and final provisions on normal production operations was taken from the ANSI standard, which attempted to address situations in which it was necessary to keep equipment energized during servicing. It was clear to the ANSI committee, as it was and is to OSHA, that neither lockout nor tagout is possible in a situation when the equipment cannot be deenergized, because these efforts involve assurances that deenergization has been achieved and that the proper procedures and verifications of deenergization have been carried out. However, both ANSI and OSHA believe that even if lockout or tagout cannot be done, the employer must provide alternative measures to lockout/tagout which will protect the employees doing the servicing under those conditions.
There are some situations in which lockout or tagout may not be effective or appropriate, and the standard does not require the use of lockout or tagout in these circumstances. In paragraph (a)(2)(iii), OSHA lists those situations where lockout or tagout provisions do not apply.
In the proposed paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(A), OSHA specified that the standard would not apply when employees are working on cord and plug type electrical equipment for which exposure to the hazards of unexpected energization, start-up, or release of stored energy of the equipment is effectively controlled by other measures. This exclusion would encompass the many varieties of portable tools that are found in the workplace, as well as cord and plug equipment which is intended for use at a fixed location.
There were 13 commenters (Ex. 2-14, 2-20, 2-27, 2-34, 2-38, 2-40, 244, 2-63, 2-76, 2-79, 2-80, 2-97 and 2-105) on the issue of the proposed exemption for cord and plug connected equipment. Four of these commenters (Ex. 2-44, 2-63, 2-79 and 2-97) stated that the requirements of this standard should apply to all situations (i.e., OSHA should not allow an exemption for cord and plug connected equipment). Two commenters (Ex 2-27 and 2-76) suggested that the standard should apply when the plug is not near the employee or if it could be plugged in without the employee's knowledge. Two commenters (Ex. 2-38 and 2-40) recommended expanding the scope of this exception to all small machinery or to those pieces of equipment for which the energy isolating device is in the control of the employee performing the maintenance. One commenter (Ex. 2-39) concurred with the proposal as written while one commenter (Ex. 2-14) suggested spelling out the alternate measures which were necessary to eliminate the requirement for locking out the energy isolating device. One commenter (Ex. 2-20) concurred with the exception as long as the employee who is doing the maintenance removes the plug and that employee does so only to do the maintenance.
Based upon the arguments put forward by each of the above commenters, OSHA has decided that the lockout/tagout requirements of the standard will not apply to cord and plug connected equipment if the equipment is unplugged and the plug is in the exclusive control of the employee who is performing the servicing or maintenance of that equipment. Because this employee would control the plug he/she would be able to prevent the equipment from becoming reenergized during the servicing operation.
Paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(B) proposed that the use of lockout/tagout procedures would not apply to "hot tap" operations when continuity of service or process operation is essential, and complete shutdown of the system impractical, provided that documented procedures and special equipment are used by the employer which will provide proven effective protection for employees. This provision was intended by OSHA to address the petroleum industry's concern (Ex. 16) for the handling of "hot tap" operations commonly used in their facilities, although it might also address other similar operations.
The "hot tap" procedure is employed in repair, maintenance, and service activities, and involves the cutting and welding of equipment (pipelines, vessels or tanks) under pressure in order to install connections or appurtenances. It is commonly used to replace or add sections of pipeline without the interruption of service for air, gas, water, steam and petrochemical distribution systems. Special metal cutting and welding equipment and specific operating procedures are used to limit explosion hazards. The operation may be performed by in-house maintenance personnel or by outside contractors.
The use of "hot tap" procedures appears to avoid several safety risks which would otherwise arise in servicing equipment which is under pressure. First, process shutdowns and start-ups of equipment of this nature pose extreme hazards of explosions and fire due to the type of materials being handled, and the complexities of and potential interactions between materials being conveyed or otherwise available in the workplace. For example, during startup it is necessary to purge pipelines of air, water and/or inert gases before hydrocarbons are introduced. Malfunctions or operator errors during purging could easily create explosive mixtures in the equipment. In other instances, process shutdowns and startups can result in rapid condensation within the process equipment and may cause "water hammers," which are sudden pressure changes that can shake, vibrate and stress equipment to the extent that the pipeline breaks or connection leaks develop. Finally, a third class of hazard avoided is one created by the much higher level of worker activity required during a complete process shutdown or start-up. This may result in more extensive worker exposure to the hazards of the shutdown or start-up procedure, and in greater potential for injury than would be involved in performance of "hot tap" type activities, in which fewer employees would be exposed.
The OSHA standard, as proposed, stipulated that hot tap operations would be exempt from the requirements of the standard if the employer could demonstrate that: (1) Continuity of service is essential; (2) shutdown of the system is impractical; and (3) documented procedures and special equipment are utilized which will provide effective protection for employees. In the preamble and the Appendix to the proposed rule, OSHA referred to the American Petroleum Institute's (API) publication, "Procedures for Welding or Hot Tapping on Equipment Containing Flammable," Publication 2201, Second Edition November 1978, (Ex. 3-16). Reference to this document was intended to serve as an illustration of an acceptable procedure. It should be noted that the API procedure applies only to piping, vessels and tanks containing flammable liquids, gas or combustible material.
OSHA's intent in proposing this exception from the requirements of this standard was to allow, in certain cases, a particular type of work (the hot tap) in a limited number of cases (that is, when continuity of service is essential and shutdown is impractical) while providing for an acceptable level of safety for employees. Without this exception to the requirements of this standard, a hot tap operation could not be conducted since the standard would otherwise require machine or equipment shut down and lockout or tagout of energy isolating devices to perform servicing or maintenance.
There were eight commenters (Ex. 2-20, 2-21, 2-22, 2-27, 2-70, 2-76, 2-80 and 2-81) to this proposed requirement. One commenter (Ex. 2-20) suggested that the first two criteria listed above (that continuity of service is essential and shut down is impractical) are unnecessary and should be eliminated from the final rule. Three commenters (Ex. 2-21, 2-22 and 2-81) recommended eliminating the exception entirely. One commenter (Ex. 2-70) proposed the elimination of the need to use special tools. There were two commenters (Ex. 2-27 and 2-80) who encouraged OSHA to be more specific and to detail exact training requirements and work practices for workers involved in hot tap operations. Finally, one commenter (Ex. 2-76) expressed agreement with this concept as proposed.
OSHA believes that employees performing hot tap operations should have comparable protection to workers performing other servicing or maintenance of machines or equipment. OSHA also believes that these operations should be allowed to be conducted when certain limited conditions exist, such as when continuity of service is essential and system shut down is impractical. By specifying these limitations the employer would be prohibited from conducting these operations simply as an expedient. The need for continuity of service would be illustrated by the pipeline containing a petroleum product where stopping the flow of the product and draining the pipeline could introduce an additional danger to employees since the concentration of the gaseous product remaining in the pipe, when mixed with air, could fall within the explosive range of the product, thereby threatening an employee with serious injury if that employee would attempt to weld on the pipe. In this case, shut down may not be practical because shutting down the system may prove more hazardous than allowing the continued operation of the system while the hot tap operation is being conducted. Another example would be when a large storage tank with a hazardous substance is punctured or otherwise penetrated. There is obviously little or no time available to continue the service (store the substance) and shut down the system (drain the tank). In this case, the hot tap operation could be safely and properly conducted if a documented procedure and the required equipment are used so that they provide effective protection for employees.
Note: This ends the preamble sections that highlight the Hot Topic: 1910.147 and Subpart O.
In paragraph (a)(3), OSHA sets forth the manner in which the employer is required to protect employees from injuries that could result from the unexpected energization or start up of machines or equipment, or the release of stored energy, when they are engaged in servicing or maintenance activities. This standard requires the development of a program centered around the use of a standardized, written procedure, the training of employees in their role in the successful use of the procedure, and periodic inspections to maintain the effectiveness of the program.
Paragraph (a)(3)(i) specifies that the control of hazardous energy be accomplished by the use of a standardized procedure for affixing the appropriate lockout or tagout devices to energy isolating devices and by otherwise disabling equipment. The steps to be followed by the employer to accomplish this goal are set forth in paragraphs (d)(1) through (d)(6).
In paragraph (a)(3)(ii), OSHA states that the intention of the standard is not to replace existing specific OSHA lockout and/or tagout provisions, but to supplement and support these provisions with requirements for using a written procedure, for training employees and for periodic inspections of the use of that procedure. The following listing indicates a number of OSHA standards which currently impose lockout-related requirements:
Powered Industrial Trucks
Overhead and Gantry Cranes
1910.179(l)(2)(i) (A), (B), (C), (D)
Mechanical Power Presses
1910.218(f)(1)(i), (ii), (iii)
Welding, Cutting & Brazing
Pulp, Paper and Paperboard Mills
Grain Handling Facilities
The standards listed above provide limited coverage of machinery, equipment and industries and do not address lockout or tagout issues or methodology in any detail. For example, none of the existing standards cover the need for a procedure or for more than one or two procedural steps pertaining to the actual application or release of energy control devices. The current provisions also do not address the basic requirements contained in the standard which are needed to support and coordinate the implementation of control measures such as the selection of hardware, communications, periodic inspections, and assignment of duties. Additionally, the need to document a procedure, or to train employees engaged in the relevant activities is not explicitly required by any of the present regulations. A typical example of this limited coverage is found in the following provisions for mechanical power presses:
Section 1910.217(b)(8)(i). A main power disconnect switch capable of being locked only in the off position shall be provided with every press control.
Section 1910.217(d)(9)(iv). The employer shall provide and enforce the use of safety blocks for use whenever dies are being adjusted or repaired in the press.
A general review of these and other lockout and tagout related provisions in OSHA's general industry standards would seem to indicate that the consensus groups which originally developed these standards had either of two primary concerns in mind. Those concerns involve the need either (1) to provide equipment with the physical means or capability to isolate it from energy sources during maintenance and repair activities; or (2) to make a choice of the control measures (locks or tags) which were to be provided and used on the specific machine, equipment or process covered by the standard.
The first category of provisions, while requiring the equipment to have the capability of being locked out, does not necessarily require that such control be accomplished. For example, 1910.213(b)(5) states, "On each machine operated by electrical motors, positive means shall be provided for rendering such controls or devices inoperative while repairs or adjustments are being made to the machines they control." As another example, 1910.218(e)(1)(ii) states, "air hammers shall have a shutoff valve as required by paragraph (d)(2) of this section and shall be conveniently located and distinctly marked for ease of identification." These provisions are specific in nature as they apply to the machines and equipment regulated and are primarily installation oriented. For the most part, they address the importance of the proper installation of energy controls for particular types of equipment. The types of controls required by this category of current rules will determine how such equipment may be isolated from the energy source under this Final Rule. This standard supplements these provisions and does not conflict with their requirements. The equipment required by this category of current rules will be used as part of the servicing procedures set out in the Final Rule. For these reasons, OSHA did not propose any change in provisions in this category as they currently appear in part 1910. Provisions of similar content are:
The second category of provisions involves those which mandate the specific use of lockout, tagout or other energy control devices for certain machines, equipment or industries. The category addresses the application of locks, lacks or tags, locks and tags, and in some cases the use of blocks, to control potentially hazardous energy.
An example of a provision which specifies the use of locks as a means of controlling the energy is found in 1910.179(l)(2)(i)(C) which states, "The main or emergency switch shall be open and locked in the open position." Provisions of similar content are found in paragraphs:
An example of a provision which specifies the use of locks or tags is found in 1910.261(j)(4)(iii) which states, "When cleaning, inspecting, or other work requires that persons enter the beaters, all control devices shall be locked or tagged out, in accordance with paragraph (b)(4) of this section." Provisions of similar content are found in the following:
An example of provisions used to specify the use of locks combined with tags is found in 1910.261(g)(15)(i) which states: "Valves controlling lines leading into a digester shall be locked out and tagged. The keys to the locks shall be in the possession of a person or persons doing the inspecting or making repairs." A provision of similar content is found in 1910.261(f)(6)(i).
An example of provisions used to specify the use of blocks to control hazardous energy is found in 1910.217(d)(9)(iv) which states: "The employer shall provide and enforce the use of safety blocks for use whenever dies are being adjusted or repaired in the press." Provisions of similar content are found in:
The groups of provisions found in this second category, and others similar to them covering potentially hazardous energy, are also not replaced by the final lockout or tagout standard. These provisions selectively require the use of the most effective devices for isolating and securing energy sources. This standard supplements the other provisions in much the same way as with the first category in that it requires the establishment of procedures for energy control, the training of employees and periodic inspections of the procedures.
In summary, this standard focuses primarily on procedures -- procedures that are necessary to provide effective control when dealing with potentially hazardous energy. When current standards require the use of locks and/or tags, those standards are supplemented rather than replaced by the requirements of this standard for the utilization of written procedures, training of employees and periodic inspections.
This standard is also intended to interact with any new or revised standards which may be promulgated in the future to address the use of specific control measures on an individual basis. Selection of the specific method of control, at that time, will reflect a thorough evaluation of the extent of exposure to the hazard; the risk of injury involving that particular machine, equipment, or industry, and the feasibility of applying a particular method of control. This standard requires that procedures be followed to implement the required control as part of a total package including training and education. In paragraph (b), OSHA is adopting a number of definitions to clarify the meaning, intent and purpose of certain terms contained in this standard. In the proposed standard, all but five of the definitions were consistent with those published by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) in their consensus standard, ANSI Z244.1-1982. The five definitions that were added covered the terms "energized," "setting up," "normal production operations," "hot tap," and "servicing or maintenance." In the Final Rule, OSHA has changed six of the proposed definitions, has added two definitions and deleted one. The definitions of affected and authorized employees, as proposed, received considerable comment. As proposed, the definition of each was:
Affected employee. A person, other than the authorized employee, whose job includes activities covered by this standard as set forth in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.
Authorized employee. A qualified person to whom the authority and responsibility to perform a specific lockout and/or tagout assignment has been given by the employer.
Eight of the eleven commenters who discussed these definitions recommended either combining the two (Ex. 2-5, 2-28, 2-32 and 2-85) or revising them for clarity (Ex. 2 34, 2-74, 2-76 and 2-89). One commenter (Ex. 2-20) suggested changing the definitions to include supervisors while one commenter (Ex. 2 50) suggested changing "qualified" to "competent" based upon the dictionary definition of each of these terms. One commenter (Ex. 2-75) said that the definitions were satisfactory as stated.
Based upon the confusion which each of these definitions have created, OSHA is revising both definitions to identify each type or class of person. This differentiation is based upon their role in the control of energy (the action which they must either take or not take during the servicing or maintenance of machines or equipment) and the knowledge or information which they must possess regarding locking out or tagging out energy isolating devices.
OSHA has determined that the definitions of "authorized employee" and "affected employee" need to be clarified to reflect more accurately the person's involvement in the use of lockout or tagout. If an employee is performing servicing or maintenance, and therefore must use the energy control procedure, that employee is an "authorized employee." By contrast, an "affected employee" is one who does not perform the servicing or maintenance but whose work duties are performed in an area in which servicing or maintenance is performed. The affected employee needs to know only when the energy control procedure is being used, and to understand the importance of not attempting to start up or to use the equipment which has been locked out or tagged out. The definition of "authorized employee" also states that an affected employee is an authorized employee whenever that person performs servicing or maintenance covered by this standard on a machine or equipment. In this case, that person, as an authorized employee, must have the training and knowledge to perform the servicing or maintenance safely.
The proposed definition of "authorized employee" appeared to limit that term to a particular person who has responsibility for the overall implementation of an energy control procedure. Many comments indicated that this took protection away from individual employees who had responsibilities under the procedure but were not actually in charge of its full implementation (Ex. 2-32, 2-34, 2-40, 74, and 2-85). OSHA agrees that as long as an employee is involved in performing an element of servicing and maintenance which is covered by the energy control procedure, that employee should be considered an "authorized employee" for the purpose of this standard. This is particularly important in the context of the requirement in paragraph (d)(4) of the standard, which requires the authorized person to affix a personal lockout or tagout device on the energy isolating device as part of the energy control procedure. The revised definition assures that when a servicing task is performed by an employee, that employee who is directly exposed to the hazards of the servicing operation will have to affix his/her personal lockout or tagout device before beginning the work and to remove it when he/she completes the work. In addition, as discussed below, paragraph (c)(5)(ii)(D) of the Final Rule provides additional accountability by requiring such lockout and tagout devices to identify the authorized person responsible for applying them.
In the proposed standard, OSHA defined the term "energized" to refer to the connection of equipment to an energy source [mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, etc.] which has not been isolated. There was one commenter (Ex. 2-76) who recommended including language for stored energy.
Based upon an evaluation of the way which this term is used in the standard, OSHA has changed the definition to indicate that energized means connected to an energy source or containing residual or stored energy. OSHA has dropped the phrase "which has not been isolated" because connection to an energy source means that the machine or equipment has not been isolated.
In this final standard, OSHA has amended the proposed definition of "energy source" to eliminate the phrase, "that is capable of causing injury to employees." The definition becomes, in essence, that an energy source is a source of energy. If an energy source does not have the capability of causing injury to employees, it is not "hazardous" energy within the scope of this standard. As used in the standard, an energy source includes the means of transmission of the energy from its true source to the energy isolating device. Therefore, isolating a machine or equipment from an energy source means utilizing an energy isolating device to interrupt the flow of energy from the means of transmission of the energy to the machine or equipment.
The identification of energy sources as defined in this proposal, is complicated by three very important considerations: (1) Energy is always present in machinery, equipment or processes; (2) energy is not necessarily dangerous; and (3) danger is only present when energy may be released in quantities or at rates that would harm an employee. Generally speaking, however, potentially hazardous energy sources are defined as those that can cause injury to employees working in, on, or around machines or equipment.
The energy sources identified in this standard require a more detailed discussion. "Energy" as used in the standard means mechanical motion (kinetic energy-the energy of motion); potential energy due to gravity or springs; electrical energy; thermal energy resulting from high or low temperature; and hydraulic or pneumatic energy. Some energy sources can be turned on and off, some can be dissipated, some can be eliminated, and some can only be controlled. These concepts will be addressed throughout the discussion of energy control procedures in this Final Rule. The following brief analysis of energy sources may provide the reader with a better understanding of the provisions of this standard.
1. Mechanical motion (kinetic energy-the energy of motion) may be linear translation, rotation or a combination of the two. This type of energy cannot be turned off or on but may be contained or stopped.
2. Potential energy can be due to the position or location of an object above some datum plane or it can be due to the energy stored in springs. Potential energy can be minimized by moving an object to a lower position. The energy of springs can be dissipated or controlled; it cannot be turned off or on.
3. Electrical energy refers to generated electrical power or static electricity. In the case of generated electricity, the electrical power can be turned on or turned off. Static electricity cannot be turned off; it can only be dissipated or controlled.
4. Thermal energy is manifested by high or low temperature. This type of energy is the result of mechanical work, radiation, chemical reaction, or electrical resistance. It cannot be turned off or eliminated; however, it can be dissipated or controlled.
5. Hydraulic or pneumatic energy is the pressure (either above or below atmospheric) contained in a liquid (such as oil or water) or in a gas (such as air). Hydraulic or pneumatic energy may be turned off. Hydraulic or pneumatic energy also may be stored; in which case, it must be released or dissipated.
The definition for "normal production operations" stated that these were operations which enable the machine or equipment to perform its intended production functions. These functions would be carried out by employees with the machine or equipment energized.
There were two comments (Ex. 2-29 and 2-80) who discussed this definition. One commenter (Ex. 2-29) contended the minor repairs, adjustments and operations should be considered servicing and maintenance rather than normal production operations. The other commenter (Ex. 2-80) suggested that the language of the Final Rule more clearly differentiate between normal production operations and servicing and maintenance.
As evidenced throughout this rulemaking proceeding, the line between "normal production operations" and "servicing or maintenance which takes place during normal production operations" is not always evident. The coverage of these activities in simplest terms, is as follows: Normal production operations are covered by the machine guarding requirements in Subpart O of Part 1910. If servicing or maintenance is performed during normal production operations without the removal or bypassing of the machine guarding required by Subpart O, this standard does not apply. Servicing or maintenance which occurs during normal production operations is covered by this Final Rule only if employees must bypass guards or otherwise place part of their bodies into an area in which they are exposed to the unexpected energization or activation of the equipment. If the employee is not exposed in this manner, such servicing or maintenance during normal production is not covered by this Final Rule. OSHA believes that the following examples will illustrate the types of activities which will come within each set of requirements.
In a printing shop, when a printing press is being used to produce printed materials, there is often the need to make minor adjustments such as to correct for paper misalignment while the press is running. This is a part of the production process, and is subject to the machine guarding requirements. The use of remote control devices will keep the employees from reaching beyond the machine guards. In addition, the use of inch [or jog] devices will permit machine speed control for test purposes. By contrast, however, printing presses may jam, requiring the employee to bypass the machine guards in order to reach the area of the jam and clear it. Although the need to unjam the machine comes about during normal production operations, it is a servicing activity which involves employee exposure to unexpected activation of the machine or release of energy, and as such, is covered by the Final Rule.
In a machine shop, a milling machine operator may have to adjust the flow of coolant oil to parts being milled while the cutting tool is in operation. This adjustment, which is done as part of the normal operation of the machine, is covered by the machine guarding requirements. Guarding must be provided to keep the employee's body away from the point of operation and other hazardous areas of the machine. However, if it becomes necessary, as a minor routine, repetitive activity which is integral to the production process, to change the speed of the machine by adjusting belt drives or other components which are normally guarded, and effective alternative safeguarding is provided which will protect employees from exposure to the hazards addressed by this standard, then the lockout/tagout requirements of this Final Rule do not apply. If effective alternative safeguarding is not provided, the minor servicing is covered by this standard. Similarly, if it becomes necessary to adjust the movement of a long-bed milling machine worktable and the isolating hydraulic cut-off valve is not in the exclusive control of the person making the adjustment, or this requires the employee to negate the effectiveness of the safeguards so that the employee is exposed to the hazard of unexpected energization of the machine (i.e., there is no alternative protection), this final standard applies. However, if this step is performed without the employee having to remove or bypass any safeguards or otherwise expose his/her body to the potential release of energy or the unexpected activation of the machine, this Final Rule does not apply.
An employee is operating a machine which applies and seals a clear plastic sheet around a packaged product. There is a blade on the machine which cuts the plastic sheets, and this blade must be cleaned off periodically during the production process. Since the process must be stopped to clean off the blade, one could argue that this operation is more in the nature of servicing or maintenance than normal production; on the other hand, since it must be performed frequently during production, one might also argue that it was actually part of the production process. Because of the dovetailing of the requirements of this standard and the machine guarding requirements of Subpart O, protection must be provided, regardless of whether the above operation is considered to be production or servicing. If it is production, the employee must be provided with guarding to protect him/her from the dangers of contacting the blade with part of his/her body; the cleaning would need to be done with special tools and procedures to provide the necessary protection. However, if it is servicing, and the employee is exposed to the point of operation which is otherwise required to be guarded, the lockout or tagout provisions of this standard would apply.
The definition of normal production operations has been simplified to state that normal production operations are the utilization of a machine or equipment to perform its intended production function. Anything that is done to prepare a machine or equipment to perform its normal production operation, such as changing a machine part (e.g., changing the blade of a power saw), is not considered utilization of a machine or equipment and is classified as servicing or maintenance rather than normal production operations. OSHA believes that this definition complements the definition of "servicing or maintenance" in this Final Rule. Further, these two definitions together help to provide a dividing line between the requirements of this standard and the safeguards already required for normal production operations by the general machine guarding standards in subpart O of part 1910 (1910.212 and 1910.219). The definition of servicing or maintenance includes those activities which require an employee to remove or bypass guards or other safety devices which were not intended to be removed during normal production operations (i.e., resulting in exposure to the hazards addressed by this standard), or to otherwise expose himself/herself to hazardous machine elements.
OSHA has also amended the definition of setup to limit that activity to preparing a machine or equipment to perform its intended function. As proposed, setup involved placing a machine or equipment into an operational mode which could have included activities such as turning it on. Many types of machines and equipment can be turned on or started without doing what is commonly thought of and referred to as setup work.
The definition of lockout/tagout as proposed has been changed in the Final Rule to two separate definitions. This was done to clarify the fact that a lockout device, when properly applied, prevents operation of the energy isolating device, whereas a tagout device indicates that the energy isolating device and the machine or equipment should not be operated.
OSHA has eliminated the definition of qualified person from this Final Rule. This was done because OSHA believes that this standard adequately specifies the type of training which is necessary and appropriate to prepare any person to perform the tasks involved in the employer's energy control program. The Final Rule requires that authorized, affected and other employees be trained in and understand those things which are necessary for each employee to know in order to have servicing or maintenance performed safely. Paragraph (c)(7)(i)(A) requires that authorized employees receive training in the recognition of the applicable hazardous energy sources, the type and magnitude of the energy available in the workplace and in the procedure to be used for energy isolation and control. Additionally, paragraph (d)(1) requires that, before the machine or equipment is turned off, the authorized employee knows the type and magnitude of the energy to be controlled, the hazards involved with such energy, and the procedure to be used for controlling the energy.
The development and documentation of energy control procedures is of little use unless the employer requires all authorized employees to utilize the procedures that have been provided whenever they are servicing or maintaining machines or equipment. In general, whenever lockout or tagout is used in accordance with this standard, each employee performing servicing or maintenance shall affix and remove, as necessary, an individual and identifiable lock or tag on the energy isolating device as part of the energy control procedure. To meet these requirements, paragraph (c)(1) requires the employer to ensure that hazardous energy control procedures have been implemented for all activities covered by this standard, and are being complied with by the employees. Methods of evaluating and maintaining the effectiveness of these procedures are provided in two other paragraphs of the standard: paragraph (c)(6), which addresses periodic inspections for observing employee adherence to the procedures; and paragraph (c)(7), which covers initial and follow-up training as required to develop and maintain the knowledge and skills needed by employees for the safe application and removal of energy control devices.
Paragraphs (c)(2) of this standard contains a discussion of the conditions under which either lockout or tagout may be utilized. OSHA makes a distinction between the method of controlling the energy (the type of energy control devices utilized) based primarily upon whether or not the energy isolating device is capable of being locked out.
As discussed in the major issues section of this preamble, OSHA recognizes that there are many important elements of any energy control program, and that the choice of lockout versus tagout is just one of these elements. Further, OSHA also acknowledges that in isolation, the attachment of a lockout device to an energy isolating device, will provide greater protection against reactivation than attachment of a tagout device. However, the issue to be resolved in this rulemaking is not the simple question of whether a lock is more protective than a tag. Rather, the Agency must address a series of related questions involving not only the effectiveness of lockout or tagout, but the feasibility and cost implications of requiring one method or the other in all energy control programs.
The record is replete with comments and testimony on the superiority of lockout to tagout as a means of securing energy isolating devices. However, there are also considerable data in the record on programs which use only tags and appear to be effective in doing so. In addition, whereas there is much information on equipment currently in place which was designed to accept lockout devices, there is a dearth of data indicating the extent to which equipment across general industry would need to be retrofitted or modified to give it the capability to be locked out. There is little question that there is a significant hazard which needs to be addressed by an OSHA standard, but OSHA must regulate in the face of much conflicting evidence on the issues of feasibility and effectiveness. Under these circumstances, the Agency has reached several conclusions. First, as a general rule, lockout should be implemented as part of the overall energy control program for equipment which is "capable of being locked out." The term "capable of being locked out" is defined in the standard. Equipment which is designed with a hasp or other attachment which can be locked, or which incorporates a locking mechanism, is obviously considered to be "capable of being locked out." However, other equipment without such a designed-in locking capability may still be considered "capable of being locked out," but only if lockout can be achieved without the need to dismantle, rebuild or replace the energy isolating device, or permanently alter its energy control capability. Second, for equipment which is capable of being locked out, OSHA recognizes that employers may, nonetheless, wish to implement a tagout program instead of lockout. OSHA will allow the use of tagout programs under these conditions only if the employer can demonstrate that the complete program will, when using tagout devices attached to the energy isolating devices, provide full employee protection. In most cases, in order for OSHA to consider a tagout program to be sufficiently protective, the elements of such a program will need to be very detailed and intensive, and will necessitate far more commitment and day-to-day vigilance to make it work than will a lockout program. This is necessary because a tag serves only as a warning and not as a positive restraint on hazardous energy. The Final Rule establishes criteria which OSHA will evaluate in determining whether a given tagout program does, in fact, provide full employee protection. Thus, when equipment is capable of being locked out, OSHA anticipates that it will be easier for employers to use that capability than to bypass it in favor of a tagout program. Third, for equipment which is not "capable of being locked out," OSHA has determined that the employer's energy control program shall use tagout. In making this determination, the Agency recognizes the efforts of many employers, as reflected in various comments and testimony, to retrofit their equipment to accept lockout devices. However, for equipment which would require significant modification to make it capable of being locked, such actions are necessarily taken on a case-by-case basis. Despite the Agency's efforts to acquire data in this area throughout the course of the rulemaking, there is still inadequate information in the record to allow OSHA to make a determination on the overall costs or feasibility of modifying such equipment to accept lockout devices. Accordingly, for such equipment, the standard allows the use of tagout as part of the energy control program. Fourth, and perhaps most critical, OSHA reemphasizes that the selection of lockout or tagout is only one element of the overall energy control program. Locks and tags to not deenergize equipment; they are attached after the equipment is deenergized. The actual deenergization must be accomplished using a carefully developed and implemented set of procedures, combined with adequate training of both affected and authorized employees. Therefore, in determining the protectiveness of the standard, it is necessary to look at the entire standard, and not just at portions of it in isolation. OSHA is confident that the interrelationship between the different requirements of the standard will result in effective protection to employees during the performance of equipment servicing and maintenance operations.
Although OSHA has determined that lockout is in general a safer means of assuring deenergization of equipment than tagout, the Agency has also determined that the record provides inadequate evidence on which to support the extension of lockout to all machinery and equipment throughout general industry. Two points must be emphasized in this regard: First, the standard is a "generic" one, and as such, will apply to virtually all types of machines and equipment in use in American industry today. The designs range from the simplest to the most complex, from the oldest to the newest, and from the most worker-intensive to the most automated. Despite this determined effort to obtain the necessary information in the course of this rulemaking, OSHA has been unable to develop the type and quality of evidence on the available technology and the impacts on the affected industries which would support a finding that lockout is feasible throughout general industry. It is not possible, based on the current record, to develop a reasonable estimate of the amount of equipment modification that would be necessary throughout industry to provide such equipment with the capability of accepting lockout devices. Secondly, OSHA is concerned about whether such existing equipment could be modified for lockout without the possibility of creating greater hazards to employees as a result of the modifications. This latter concern was shared by the State of Virginia's special Task Force on lockout/tagout in General Industry, which is made up of representatives from major employer and employee associations and major industries in that State. The Task Force recommendations to OSHA, which were submitted to the record by the Virginia AFL-CIO, provided that where some kind of modification would have to be made to equipment in order to accommodate a lock, the standard should only require a tagout. (Ex. 13A).
OSHA acknowledges that there are significant problems involving the use of tagout, as discussed above. However, the Agency also recognizes that where equipment is not designed to accept a lockout device, tagout will need to be used, even though it does not provide the same assurance that the equipment will not become energized during servicing or maintenance. What becomes important in such situations, therefore, is for the standard to address as many of the weaknesses of tagout as possible, and to impose more stringent requirements which improve the capability of a tagout program to provide effective employee protection. In developing the Final Rule, OSHA has considered the major shortcomings of the use of tagout, as discussed in the comments and testimony, and has revised the proposed requirements to focus on appropriate means by which these shortcomings can be avoided or minimized. In particular, the Final Rule requires tagout devices to be considerably stronger and more durable than provided for in the proposal. The revised provisions on tagout are intended to deal with the problem of tagout devices deteriorating when they become wet or when they are exposed to a corrosive atmosphere The final standard also requires the tagout device to have a much stronger means of attachment which cannot simply be twisted off or unwound from the energy isolating device. The record clearly indicates that the tag must remain securely affixed throughout the servicing operation in order to serve as an effective warning device. The use of flimsy attachments makes it too easy for an unauthorized employee to remove the device, either intentionally or inadvertently. As noted earlier, there is also testimony presented at the hearings about situations in which tags have become dislodged from their attachment point by environmental conditions such as wind and rain. Perhaps the greatest limitation of tagout is that it does not actually secure the energy isolating device and prevent the equipment from being reenergized. In lockout, the presence of a servicing employee's lockout device on an energy isolating device will prevent another employee from activating or energizing the equipment, even if that other employee does not understand the restrictions of the energy control program. By contrast, tagout is highly dependent on human factors, and requires constant vigilance to ensure that tagout devices are not removed, bypassed or disregarded. In addressing this limitation OSHA is requiring additional training for employees who work with tagout or who work in areas in which tagout is used. Such training, which involves a review of the employee's responsibilities under the energy control program and the limitations of tagout, has been incorporated into the periodic inspection requirements in paragraph (c)(6) of the Final Rule, and, as such, must be provided on at least an annual basis. Further, the training program must incorporate information which emphasizes the problems involved with the use of tagout, to make employees aware of why they must not deviate from the requirements of the tagout program. In addition, the standard requires that the employer's energy control procedure incorporate provisions for enforcing compliance with the restrictions and prohibitions of the program. OSHA has determined that these strengthened requirements will greatly enhance the protection which can be provided by tagout programs under the Final Rule.
Paragraph (c)(2)(i) states that tagout may be used when the energy devices are not "capable of being locked out" as defined in the standard. This paragraph allows the employer to use tagout in this limited circumstance. If the employer wishes to perform modifications of the equipment to accommodate a lockout device, OSHA encourages such modifications, but as noted above, the standard does not require them until replacement or major modifications or repairs of the equipment is undertaken.
In paragraph (c)(2)(ii), OSHA requires the use of lockout if the energy isolating devices are 'capable of being locked out' unless the employer can demonstrate that the utilization of tagout will provide full employee protection. The term "full employee protection" is set forth in paragraph (c)(3), and is discussed more fully below. In brief, "full employee protection" in this context means that when equipment is capable of being locked out, the employer must demonstrate that the tagout program provides a level of safety equivalent to that obtained by using a lockout program. This requirement also states that the attachment of a tagout device must be at the same point as a lockout device would have been attached. This will provide additional assurance that the energy isolating device will not be accidentally or inadvertently turned on.
An employer who chooses to use tagout in this situation must demonstrate that tagout will provide full employee protection, as explained in paragraph (c)(3). The employer must obviously demonstrate that the tagout program meets all tagout-related requirements which are spelled out in the standard, such as proper materials and construction of the tagout devices, the durability of the tag, and the capability of the attachment means to prevent the unauthorized or accidental removal of the tagout device. However as noted earlier, OSHA does not believe that a tagout program which simply meets the requirements of the standard will be as protective as a lockout program, even though the tagout requirements have been strengthened considerably from the proposal. In order for an employer to demonstrate that a tagout program provides a level of safety equivalent to a lockout program for a piece of equipment which has lockable energy isolating devices, the employer will need to show additional steps which have been taken to enhance the tagout program. OSHA believes that these elements will need to be evaluated by the Agency on a case-by-case basis. As discussed in paragraph (c)(3)(ii), the employer must consider additional measures which will further enhance the safety of the tagout program, such as the removal of an isolating circuit element, the locking of a controlling switch, or the opening of an additional disconnecting device. By requiring that the employer made a showing of the effectiveness of tagout in situations which are otherwise amenable to lockout, the standard assures that each type of control (lockout or tagout) will provide an acceptable level of safety for those employees who must perform the servicing or maintenance on the machine or equipment. Based upon the range of variations which are possible in different situations, OSHA believes that the comparative effectiveness of any particular energy control program can be made only after examination and evaluation of the factors present at each point of application.
Several parties contended that because of statistical limitations and due to underreporting, the use of accident data to evaluate an energy control program would not give a true picture of the effectiveness of the program. Similarly, discussions with authorized and affected employees could be used only for determining the thoroughness of the training and their knowledge of the energy control program. Although the company data would certainly be reviewed by the Agency, it would be only one element of the overall determination. Further, OSHA anticipates that if energy control-related accidents have occurred, whether or not they have been reported, the employees in the facility would have knowledge of the circumstances surrounding those accidents, weaknesses in the procedure which may have contributed to the accidents, and any steps which the employer has taken since the accident to deal with the problem.
In response to OSHA's requests for additional information, NIOSH provided additional suggestions on elements to be included in a tagout procedure in the event that lockout would not be implemented. (Ex. 50). NIOSH agreed with OSHA that management involvement is critical for both lockout and tagout procedures. NIOSH recommended that tagout procedures be documented (written) and should include the supervisory and enforcement duties and the disciplinary actions to be implemented when the procedure is not followed. Other elements recommended, such as training and hazard isolation, were quite similar to those already included in this rule. Most of the items recommended by NIOSH have been incorporated into the Final Rule in some form.
Although OSHA has serious concerns about the feasibility of retrofitting existing equipment to be lockout-capable, the Agency has different concerns about what is to be done when such equipment is replaced, when new equipment is installed, or when major modifications or renovations are performed to existing equipment. OSHA believes that the optimal time to incorporate lockout capability is where this capability is programmed into the design of the equipment in the first instance. For example, much of today's automated and computerized equipment contains programmed instructions in computer memory which can be lost if the equipment is totally deenergized. If the equipment were designed and built either with a back-up energy source, or by the splitting of the incoming energy for computer memory and mechanical functions, with the mechanical function power supply being lockable, or with other means of maintaining the memory while allowing the mechanical elements to be deenergized and locked out, servicing or maintenance could be performed safely on the deenergized equipment without losing the programming for its proper operation. The implementation of such control methods would, in OSHA's judgment, be a relatively small element in terms of both design and cost when compared to the overall design and construction costs of the equipment.
Accordingly, paragraph (c)(2)(iii) of the Final Rule requires that new equipment ordered or purchased after the effective date of this standard, and existing equipment which otherwise is undergoing extensive repair, renovation or modifications, must be provided with a capability of being locked out if such design is feasible. This provision will assure that even if current equipment is not designed to be locked out, future generations of such equipment will have a lockout capability. Under the requirements of this Final Rule, this equipment will then be subject to the requirement to use lockout except when a tagout system can be shown to be equally effective. OSHA anticipates, however, that the designing of lockout capability into new equipment will encourage the employer to utilize that capability in the energy control program rather than relying on tagout.
Note: The following paragraphs highlight the Hot Topic: Energy Control Program
Summary: (pp. 36670-36671) (38-41)
In paragraph (c)(4), OSHA requires that employers develop, document and utilize procedures for the control of potentially hazardous energy, and that the procedures clearly and specifically outline the steps to be followed, techniques to be used, and measures to be applied by the employer to assure that the procedure is used. OSHA also specifies that the employer ensure that the control measures are used by employees whenever they might be exposed to injury from the unexpected energization or start up of machines or equipment or the release of stored energy.
There were four commenters (Ex. 2-36, 2-58, 2-70 and 2-87) to this requirement for the development and utilization of a procedure. Two of these commenters (Ex. 2-36 and 2-70) objected to the use of the word "specific" when defining the elements of the procedure while one commenter interpreted the requirement as mandating a generalized procedure for each plant, as well as a specific procedure for every machine or piece of equipment. The last commenter on this issue (Ex. 2-87) suggested the standard make it clear that it may not be necessary to have multiple procedures. This commenter also alluded to the fact that the standard should require a determination that a need to control hazardous energy exists and how this should be done before work begins.
In this final standard, OSHA has retained the word "specific" when detailing the elements of the procedure. This was done to emphasize the need to have a detailed procedure, one which clearly and specifically outlines the steps to be followed. The procedure must detail that information which the authorized employees must know to accomplish the lockout or tagout. Overgeneralization can result in a document which has little or no utility to the employee who must follow the procedure. However, whereas the procedure is required to be written in detail, this does not mean that a separate procedure must be written for each and every machine or piece of equipment. Similar machines and/or equipment (such as those using the same type and magnitude energy) which have the same or similar types of controls can be covered with a single procedure.
The written energy control procedure required by this standard need not be overly complicated or detailed, depending on the complexity of the equipment and the control measures to be utilized. For example, if there is a machine with a single energy source that must be serviced or maintained, and the means to shut down and isolate the machine is uncomplicated and apparent, such as first pushing a stop button, then opening an electrical disconnect which is at the machine, and locking out that energy isolating device, the written procedure could be very simple. The steps set forth in the standard can be incorporated into the procedure with very little detail reflecting the lack of complexity of the control measure. In addition, the employer's procedures may not need to be unique for a single machine or task; but can apply to a group of similar machines, types of energy and tasks if a single procedure can address the hazards and the steps to be taken satisfactorily.
OSHA believes that because of the need to follow the steps in the energy control procedure carefully and specifically, and the number of variables involved in controlling hazardous energy, a documented procedure is necessary for most energy control situations. However, the Agency has determined that in certain limited situations, documentation of the procedure will not add markedly to the protection otherwise provided by the standard. These situations incorporate several common elements: First, there is a single source of hazardous energy which can be easily identified and isolated, and there is no potential for stored or residual energy in the equipment. This greatly simplifies the procedure for controlling the energy, since the single energy source is all that needs to be isolated. Second, the isolation and locking out of that single energy source will totally deenergize and deactivate the machine or equipment. There are no collateral sources of energy which need to be addressed. Third, a full lockout of the energy source is achieved by a single lockout device which is under the exclusive control of the authorized employee performing the servicing or maintenance. As used in this provision, exclusive control means that the authorized employee is the only person who can affix or remove the device. The authorized employee follows all steps necessary for deenergizing the equipment, verifying the deenergization, performing the work, and reenergizing the equipment upon completion of servicing. Because the energy control elements are simple, with a single energy source being locked out and no other potential sources of unexpected activation or energization, the authorized employee can perform them without referring to a written document. Fourth, while the equipment is locked out, the servicing or maintenance cannot expose other employees to hazards. for example, shutdown and lockout of a conveyor cannot cause jams or other hazards at other conveyors which feed into the conveyor being serviced.
The exception is intended to apply to situations in which the procedure for deenergization, servicing, and reenergization can be carried out without detailed instructions of energy sources, machines, and employees. For example, a motor in a small machine shop is wired into a single electrical disconnect with no other energy source, and the motor does not present the hazards of stored or residual energy. When the motor needs repair, the authorized employee can isolate the motor from the single energy source and lock it out, using his/her personal lockout device on the disconnect, in accordance with the procedures set forth in the standard. Under these conditions, and provided that no other employees are exposed to hazards from the servicing operation, the servicing may be performed without the need to document the energy control procedure.
When all of the conditions for the exception are met, the standard does not require the employer to document the energy control procedure. However, if the employer, in utilizing this exception, has an accident involving the machinery or equipment, in which the unexpected release of hazardous energy is a factor, this indicates the need for more formal treatment of the energy control procedure, and documentation then becomes necessary.
It should also be noted that a small business does not necessarily have small energy control problems. Much complex machinery and equipment can be found in workplaces with few employees, especially in highly-automated operations. From the standpoint of the safety to be achieved from development of and compliance with a written energy control procedure, there is nothing to indicate that a small employer needs a written procedure any less than a large employer. As discussed earlier, the available data clearly demonstrate the need for written procedures to control hazardous energy. For example, the BLS Work Injury Reports (WIR) (Ex. 3-3) indicated that printed instructions or posted procedures had been provided to only 62 of 554 injured employees responding on this issue in the survey (See Table V, in section III of this preamble). The WIR results also clearly demonstrate the lack of differentiation of injuries based on size of establishment. Half of the total number of injuries took place in establishments of under 100 employees. Approximately 35 percent of the total number of injured employees responding to the survey were injured at workplaces with fewer than 50 employees and another 15 percent occurred where there were between 50 and 99 employees (See Table I, in section III of this preamble). Therefore, with the limited exception discussed above, OSHA has determined that the requirements for written procedures are appropriate for all employers covered by this standard regardless of size. The amount of detail in an employer's procedure will depend on the complexity of the machine or piece of equipment, and what the servicing employee must know to shut down and isolate the machine or equipment.
Note: More preamble sections that highlight the Hot Topic: Energy Control Program are available.
It is nonetheless imperative that the employee who is performing the maintenance or servicing (who must utilize the energy control procedure) understands the hazards of the work and how to control them. It is for this reason that paragraph (d)(1) (which is also discussed below) requires, before the machine or equipment is even turned off, that the authorized employee have knowledge of the type and magnitude of the energy, the hazards of the energy to be controlled, and the procedure to be used.
The Appendix provides employers and employees with an example of a simple lockout procedure. Where appropriate, this procedure may be used as written in the Appendix by simply filling in the blanks. This procedure is not considered unique and can be applied with considerable flexibility to groups of machines or tasks. It may also be used as a guide to develop a more specific or detailed lockout or tagout procedure. The sample would need only minor changes to methods, procedures and/or text to be acceptable for many different workplace situations.
The standard, by being written in performance language, also addresses situations in which there is a need for entirely unique lockout/tagout procedures. There may be situations which might require the entire procedure to be unique for its purpose (one of a kind) in dealing with the hazards, or the employer may only need to provide a supplement to the general procedure. For some applications, the supplement could be in the form of a check list used for gaining access to the machine or equipment and for returning it to service. The check list might address the number and locations of the energy isolating devices in order to guarantee total deenergization. In most cases, if the procedure itself takes the form of a check list, this check list would need to reflect the necessary order of energy isolation and device application.
In paragraphs (c)(5) (i) and (ii), OSHA requires that the employer provide the necessary protective materials and hardware such as locks, tags, chains, adapter pins, etc., for attachment to the energy isolating devices. The standard also requires that the devices be unique to the particular use (the only ones authorized for the purpose); that they be durable, standardized and substantial; and that they identify the user.
There were three commenters (Ex. 2-28, 2-67 and 2-80) who commented on the employer providing the necessary protective materials and hardware. One commenter (Ex. 2-28) suggested eliminating the requirement for the employer to provide the needed lockout or tagout materials or hardware. OSHA disagrees with this contention. Whereas other types of protective equipment, such as safety shoes, may be of a personal nature, the protective materials and hardware used to lockout or tagout is more machine or equipment oriented. The employer is ultimately in the best position, based upon his/her knowledge of the construction and configuration of the plant, facility and/or the type of equipment, to judge or determine the type and quantity or number of items needed in that plant or facility to effectuate the control of energy during servicing or maintenance of the machines or equipment. If the employer orders the necessary hardware, he/she can ensure that the hardware complies with the provisions of the standard (that is, that the hardware is durable, standardized, substantial and identifiable). The purchase of a larger number of these materials and hardware can also result in an overall cost savings if enough of a particular item or several items are ordered in quantity.
One of the other commenters (Ex. 2-67) recommended eliminating the need for the employer to provide tags since tags should be used only when the equipment design does not allow lockout. OSHA has previously discussed the use of tags as an acceptable energy control measure under this standard. The final commenter (Ex. 2-80) recommended changing "securing or blocking" to "blocking and/or securing," to emphasize that there may be situations when the use of a combination of energy control techniques are necessary. OSHA believes that the standard already provides for situations in which more than one energy control method is necessary. The purpose of the standard as stated in paragraph (a)(3) is to require employers to establish and utilize a program for disabling machines and equipment during their maintenance or servicing in order to prevent injury to employees. What is necessary and appropriate to control hazardous energy in a given situation is one of the determinations which the employer must make when implementing the program. This final standard recognizes that it may be necessary to use several different means of controlling energy simultaneously to control a particular operation.
The standard utilizes performance language in imposing the above requirements. OSHA believes that the obligations imposed by paragraphs (c)(5)(i) and (ii) are not overly restrictive or complicated. To meet the requirement in paragraph (c)(5)(i) to supply protective equipment and hardware, the employer can either issue devices to each employee responsible for implementing energy control measures, or can exercise the option of simply having a sufficient quantity of the devices on hand at any given time and assign or distribute them to employees as the need arises. As noted earlier, all authorized employees will need to have these devices available to attach to energy isolating devices whenever they perform servicing or maintenance using the energy control procedure.
The proposed standard specified that lockout or tagout devices be singularly identified, shall be the only devices used for controlling hazardous energy, shall not be used for other purposes, and shall be durable, standardized, substantial, and identifiable. This requirement remains substantially unchanged in the Final Rule. Three commenters (Ex. 2-53, 2-64 and 2-70) objected to not allowing energy control devices to be used for other purposes. This restriction was proposed, and is being adopted to ensure that the sight of a distinctive lock or tag will provide a constant message of the use that the device is being put to and the restrictions which this device is intended to convey. If lockout or tagout devices are used for other purposes, they can lose their significance in the workplace. For the energy control procedure to be effective, these devices must have a single meaning to employees: "Do not energize or attempt to start or operate a machine or equipment when such a device is affixed to an energy isolating device which controls the energy to that machine or equipment.
In paragraph (c)(5)(ii)(A) OSHA proposed that lockout or tagout devices be durable. There was no specific comment on this provision. In order to overcome some of the concerns of commenters to the use of tags, OSHA is adding in the Final Rule that tagout devices must be constructed and printed so that exposure to weather or other environmental conditions which exist in the workplace will not cause the tag to become unserviceable and/or the message on the tag to become illegible. For any sign, tag or other message bearing item, the message must remain legible for the employees to be able to ascertain the meaning and intent of the message.
In paragraph (c)(5)(ii)(B) OSHA requires that lockout or tagout devices be standardized in one of the following criteria: color, shape, size, print or format, in order that they be readily identifiable and distinguished from other similar devices found in the workplace. In addition, the final rule adds a requirement for the use of a standardized print and format for tagout devices. This is done to ensure that the tagout devices, which rely exclusively on employee recognition for their effectiveness, will be so unique as to minimize the chances of their being misidentified or their message misinterpreted.
In paragraph (c)(5)(ii)(C), OSHA requires that lockout or tagout devices be substantial enough to minimize the possibility of premature removal. The standard requires that lockout devices be substantial enough to prevent their removal without the use of excessive force or unusual techniques. Tagout devices and their means of attachment are similarly required to be constructed so that the potential for inadvertent or accidental removal is minimized. Tag attachment means are further required to be attachable by hand, and to be of strength equivalent to a one-piece non-releasable, self locking cable tie. These additional requirements are being imposed to ensure that tags do not become disconnected or lost during use, thereby negating their effectiveness.
In paragraph (c)(5)(ii)(D), OSHA requires that lockout or tagout devices identify the employee who applies the device or devices. This requirement is similar to the proposal. Identification of the user provides an additional degree of accountability to the overall program. It enables the employer to inspect the application of the energy control procedure and determine which employees are properly implementing its requirements. If locks or tags are not being properly attached by an employee, identification on the locks and tags will enable the employer to locate that employee and correct the problem promptly, including additional training as necessary. This requirement will enable employers and other employees to determine at a glance which authorized employees are performing a given servicing operation. It puts them on notice that if questions arise about the servicing or the energy control procedure, the persons listed on the lockout and tagout devices are the appropriate persons to ask. The authorized employee has the additional assurance that other employees know of his/her involvement in the servicing, and that only he/she is allowed to remove the device.
There were three commenters (Ex. 2-21, 2-36 and 2-62) who objected to having to mark or identify locks. These commenters claimed that identifying a lockout device with a particular employee was unnecessary. OSHA believes that knowing who applied a lockout device to a machine or equipment can save time and lives. If an employee, upon completing a job, forgets to remove a lockout device, the identity of the employee can be immediately determined and the employee made available to complete the procedure. If that employee cannot be located, it is possible that he/she is still working on the equipment. It would then be possible to check out the area and assure that the employee and others are out of the danger area before the device is removed. Marking a lockout or tagout device is a simple way of identifying the person who applies it, and can prevent the inadvertent reenergization or reactivation of equipment before that employee has been located and has moved clear of the equipment. Thus, marking the identity of the employee who uses a lockout or tagout device is an appropriate safeguard.
Marking of the lockout or tagout devices can also promote a sense of security in employees, in that each device is the individual employee's device, used only for his or her protection. This sense of identity also can be used to encourage willing utilization of the energy control procedure. When an employee can identify with a part of the program he/she controls for his/her own protection, that employee will likely be an active participant in making the program work.
In paragraph (c)(5)(iii), OSHA states that the legend (major message) on tagout devices must warn against hazardous conditions if the equipment is re-energized. Five examples of major message are provided in paragraph (c)(5)(iii): Do Not Start, Do Not Open, Do Not Close, Do Not Energize, and Do Not Operate. OSHA recognizes, however, that these messages may not be sufficient to cover all conditions involving hazardous energy control. For that reason, the above stated legends are only examples of what must be stated. The use of graphics, pictographs or other symbols to convey the message which the tag represents serves the same purpose as the written message and therefore would be acceptable to OSHA. Additionally, the use of danger tags would have to meet the requirements of 1910.145.
There were 8 commenters (Ex. 2-20, 2-32, 2-36, 2-41, 2-53, 2-62, 2-70 and 2-74) who discussed the requirement contained in (c)(5)(iii). Three of the commenters (Ex. 2-36, 2-53 and 2-62) suggested elimination of the wording in the requirement "shall warn against hazardous conditions if the equipment is re-energized." This is a statement of the purpose of the tag. The significance of this message is imparted through the training of employees and enforcement of the program. The backbone of a tagout system is that when a tagout device is placed on an energy isolating device, it informs employees that the energy isolating device is not to be turned on or otherwise moved to a position which will allow the flow of energy. The printed message on the tag provides information about what the tag stands for and what it prohibits, and indicates the name of the employee who affixed it to the energy isolating device.
Three of the commenters (Ex. 2-32, 2-41 and 2-70) commented on the language of the proposal "and shall include the legends:* * * or similar language." Two of the commenters (Ex. 2-32 and 2-70) suggested amending the wording of the phrase to say, "and shall include the following legends: * * *" The proposal was intended to require that tags have some type of commonly used message which would serve to prohibit an employee from removing, bypassing or disregarding the tag. The items listed (that is, "Do Not Start", "Do Not Open" etc.) were intended not to be an all inclusive or complete list of the possibilities but rather, to give an indication of the type of prohibitive major message which the tag could contain. Clearly, whatever language is chosen for the message of the tag must coincide with the prohibited action. Further, employees must know and understand that the tag really means "do not touch," regardless of the type of equipment or hazard involved.
Note: The following paragraphs highlight the Hot Topic: Energy Control Program.
Due to the severity of the risks associated with a lapse in the implementation of the energy control procedure, paragraph (c)(6) requires that periodic inspections be performed at least annually in order to verify and to ensure that the energy control procedure is being properly utilized. One method for meeting the performance requirements in this paragraph would be to use random audits and planned visual observations to determine the extent of employee compliance. Another would include modifying and adopting ordinary plant safety tours to suit this purpose.
The periodic inspection is intended to assure that the energy control procedures continue to be implemented properly, and that the employees involved are familiar with their responsibilities under those procedures. A significant change in this requirement from the proposal involves the activities of the person performing the inspections. The inspector who is required to be an authorized person not involved in the energy control procedure being inspected, must be able to determine three things; first, whether the steps in the energy control procedure are being followed; second, whether the employees involved know their responsibilities under the procedure; and third, whether the procedure is adequate to provide the necessary protection, and what changes, if any, are needed. The inspector will need to observe and talk with the employees in order to make these determinations. The Final Rule provides some additional guidance as to the inspector's duties in performing periodic inspections, to assure that he or she obtains the necessary information about the energy control procedure and its effectiveness. Where lockout is used, the inspector must review each authorized employee's responsibilities under the procedure with that employee. This does not necessarily require separate one-on-one meetings, but can involve the inspector meeting with the whole servicing crew at one time. Indeed, group meetings can be the most effective way of dealing with this situation, because they reinforce the employees' knowledge of the procedures and their recognition that they need to follow the procedures carefully. Where tagout is used, the inspector's review of responsibilities extends to affected employees as well, because of the increased importance of their role in avoiding accidental or inadvertent activation of the equipment or machinery being serviced. OSHA believes that these reviews, which will need to be performed on at least an annual basis during the periodic inspections, will assure that employees follow and maintain proficiency in the energy control procedure, and that the inspector will be better able to determine whether changes are needed.
A related change from the proposal is found in the certification provision in paragraph (c)(6)(ii) of the Final Rule. In addition to the operation, date of inspection and name of inspector, the Final Rule also requires identification of the employees included in the inspection. This change provides for the inspector to indicate which employees were involved with the servicing operation being inspected, in order to assure that these employees have had the opportunity to review their responsibilities and demonstrate their performance under the procedure.
Inspections must be made by an authorized employee other than one implementing the energy control procedure being inspected. This is done to ensure that the employee performing the inspections knows the procedures and how they are to be utilized, and to be able to recognize any problems with the energy control program. The inspections must be designed and conducted to correct any deviations uncovered. In addition, the employer must certify that they have been performed. These inspections are intended to provide for immediate feedback and action by the employer to correct any inadequacies observed.
These inspections are intended to ensure that the energy control procedure has been properly implemented and to provide an essential check on the continued utilization of the procedure.
Some commenters (cf. Ex. 2-4, 2-39) suggested that the standard require employee participation in these inspections. However, the employer has the obligation of assuring proper utilization of the emergency control procedure under the standard, and the periodic inspection is a means of assuring that such compliance is taking place. If an inspection reveals flaws in the implementation of the procedure, it is the employer who must make changes in the procedure, provide retraining to employees, and take other steps to make sure that the problems are corrected. Therefore, OSHA does not believe that a requirement for additional employee involvement in these inspections is necessary under the OSH Act. It should be noted that the standard requires such inspections to be performed by an authorized employee other than one implementing the particular procedure. Because the inspector is also an authorized employee, he/she will have the necessary knowledge to evaluate the effectiveness of the procedure being inspected, and to report back to the employer with regard to necessary corrective measures.
OSHA believes that periodic inspections by the employer are necessary to ensure continued compliance with the procedure. Therefore, this requirement remains unchanged.
In paragraph (c)(7), OSHA specifies that the employer provide effective initial training, as well as retraining as required by changing conditions in the workplace, or when an inspection conducted in accordance with the requirement for (c)(6) reveals the need for retraining. Additionally, this provision requires certification of such training of employees. OSHA considers these requirements to be of critical importance in helping to ensure that the applicable provisions, restrictions and prohibitions of the energy control program are known, understood and strictly adhered to by employees.
As it is the case with the other provisions of this generic rule, OSHA believes that the training program under this standard needs to be performance oriented, in order to deal with the wide range of workplaces covered by the standard. However, in order to provide adequate information, any training program under this standard will need to cover at least four areas: The employer's energy control program, the elements of the energy control procedures which are relevant to the employee's duties, the restrictions of the program applicable to each employee, and the requirements of this Final Rule. The details will necessarily vary from workplace to workplace, and even from employee to employee within a single workplace, depending upon the complexity of the equipment and the procedure, the employee's duties and their responsibilities under the energy control program, and other factors. Paragraphs (c)(7)(i) (A), (B), and (C) of the standard establish the amount of training that is required for the three groups of employees: "authorized" employees, "affected" employees and all "other" employees. The relative degree of knowledge required by these three employee groups is in descending order, with the requirements for authorized employees demanding the most effort in training. Because authorized employees must use the energy control procedures, it is important that they receive training in recognizing and understanding all potentially hazardous energy that they might be exposed to during their work assignments, and that they also be trained in the use of adequate methods and means for the control of such energy. The authorized employees are the ones who must use the energy control procedure to provide for their protection when they are performing the servicing or maintenance of the machines or equipment. Therefore, they need extensive training in aspects of the procedure and its proper utilization, together with all relevant information about the equipment being serviced.
The training OSHA requires for"affected employees" is less stringent than that for "authorized employees," simply because affected employees do not perform servicing or maintenance operations which are performed under an energy control procedure. Affected employees are important to the overall protection provided in the energy control program, however, because such employees work in areas where the program is being utilized by authorized employees. It is vital to the safety of the authorized employees that the affected employees recognize lockout or tagout devices immediately, that they know about the purpose of those devices, and, most importantly, that they know not to disturb the lockout or tagout devices or the equipment to which the devices are affixed. Therefore, the standard requires that affected employees be instructed in these matters. The instruction needs to be sufficient to enable the employees to determine if a control measure is in use. The instruction also needs to make affected employees aware that disregarding or violating the prohibitions imposed by the energy control program could endanger their own lives, or the lives of coworkers. Considerable latitude is given to employers in the development and conduct of the required training for authorized, affected and other employees.
There was considerable comment on the training of the different classes of employees based upon the definitions and duties of the different employees as enumerated in the proposed standard. Five commenters (Ex. 2-5, 2-32, 2-44, 2-67 and 2-74) objected to different training for authorized and affected employees while 10 commenters (Ex. 2-28, 2-36, 2-39, 2-42, 2-46, 2-55, 2-58, 2-70, 2-73 and 2-85) objected to training "other" employees. One commenter (Ex. 2-27) suggested expanding the training to coincide with the training requirements of other OSHA standards.
The training requirements for the different classes or types of employees as they are defined in this final standard are performance oriented, thereby providing the employer with considerable flexibility in how the training should be conducted. The employer is permitted to use whatever method he/she feels will best accomplish the objective of the training.
OSHA also requires in paragraph (c)(7)(i)(C) that all other employees shall be instructed about the restrictions imposed upon all employees by the energy control program. This instruction on the employer's energy control program can be conveyed during new employee orientations, by the use of employee handbooks, or through regularly scheduled safety meetings. The training of employees other than authorized and affected employees is considered by OSHA to be essential since other employees working in the plant or facility have been known to have turned on the power to a machine or equipment on which another employee is performing a servicing or maintenance activity. Inadvertent and intentional activation of machines or equipment by employees other than those working on the machine or equipment is not limited to affected employees. The training requirements for these other employees are minimal, essentially required only that these employees know what the energy control program does and that they are not to touch any locks, tags or equipment covered by this program.
In paragraph (c)(7)(ii), OSHA is establishing a requirement for additional training for all employees in plants or facilities where tagout is the preferred method of energy control. The need for this additional or supplemental training for employees in those facilities is based upon the fact that the use of tagout relies upon the knowledge of the employees and their adherence to the limitation imposed by the use of tags. Several commenters who use tagout programs stated in their comments and testimony (cf Ex. 47, 52, Tr. p. W2-5, W2-27 and H199-207) that tagout can only be effective when the program provides for extensive training and reinforcement of the elements of the tagout procedures.
In paragraph (c)(7)(iii), OSHA requires that retraining be provided for authorized and affected employees whenever there is a change in their job assignments, a change in the machines or equipment that present a new hazard, or when there is a change in the energy control procedure. This is in addition to the review of the procedure which is part of the annual inspection and is required under paragraphs (c)(6)(i)(C) and (D). This retraining may need to be conducted more frequently, that is, whenever an inspection under paragraph (c)(6) reveals, or whenever the employer has reason to believe, that there are deviations from or inadequacies in the energy control procedure.
Many participants and commenters (Ex. 2-29, 2-44, 2-57, 2-63, 2-97, 50, 52, 60, 62, Tr. p. W1-55, W1-165, W1-208, W1-263, W2-83, H85, H159, H166) suggested that the basic requirement for retraining should provide for the training to be conducted on a regular basis at specified minimum intervals. These commenters pointed out the fact that although the proposal said that the retraining shall be periodic, the criteria for conducting the training was based solely upon the periodic inspection or the employer having reason to believe that there were program problems.
The above comments and testimony clearly indicated that the "periodic" training in the energy control procedure needs to be provided at a minimum stated interval, rather than relying solely upon the employer's periodic inspection. Based on many current training programs, including those throughout the automobile industry, it was argued that annual retraining would provide adequate assurance that employees understand their duties under abilities to carry out the energy control procedure.
There were 13 commenters (Ex. 2-20, 2-32, 2-36, 2-39, 2-41, 2-43, 2-44, 2-52, 2-62, 2-69, 2-70, 2-74 and 2-87) who suggested limiting retraining to those individuals and in those instances when there is an identified problem. These commenters reasoned that retraining should not be required unless there is some indication to the employer that it is needed.
OSHA believes that the effectiveness of training diminishes as the time from the last training session increases. Without the imposition of a requirement for periodic retraining of the employees who are critical to the success of the energy control program, that is, the persons who must utilize the procedure, the overall effectiveness of the energy control program will diminish over an extended period of time. The standard provides for maintaining employee proficiency by requiring that the procedures be reviewed with employees whenever a periodic inspection is conducted. This review is with authorized employees when lockout is in use and with authorized and affected employees when tagout is in use. The retraining requirements of (c)(7)(iii) apply when employees receive new job assignments for which they were not previously trained in lockout/tagout requirements, when a change in machines, equipment or processes presents a new hazard or when there is a change in the energy control procedures. Additionally, retraining is required whenever a periodic inspection reveals, or whenever the employer has reason to believe, that there are deviations from or inadequacies in the knowledge of use of the energy control procedures.
Retraining must be conducted to reestablish employee proficiency. The scope and content of all the formal retraining must be based upon the severity of the problems encountered with the use of the energy control program and must be directed toward elimination of those problems.
OSHA is of the opinion that full and uniform utilization of an energy control procedure is necessary in order for that procedure to maintain its effectiveness. Every effort should be made during the periodic inspection performed under paragraph (c)(6) to determine whether or not the procedure is being used properly. if deviations are observed, retraining in accordance with paragraph (c)(7)(iii)(B) would be required. However, retraining could be triggered by events separate from the finding of a periodic inspection. For example, an employee working with an energy control procedure might be injured in the course of his duties, or there might be a "near miss," where no one is actually injured, but where the energy control program has failed nonetheless. If a subsequent investigation indicates that an employee failed to operate within the guidelines of the control procedure, retraining would be required.
In addition, the investigation might also reveal that the procedure itself was not adequate. Such inadequacies in the procedure could be the result of using a general procedure that does not handle effectively a specific application, or they may arise because changes have been made to the equipment or process that the existing energy control procedure did not take into consideration. In such cases when changes to the energy control procedure must be made, the employer is required to retrain employees in the new or revised procedures in accordance with paragraph (c)(7)(iii)(B).
In the Final Rule when lockout is being implemented, OSHA is limiting the requirement for an annual review of the procedure during the periodic inspection to authorized employees. These are the employees who must implement the energy control procedure, and their protection is the primary consideration under this standard. Because their safety requires them to follow the steps of the procedure precisely, these employees must be properly trained, and that training must be reinforced to assure their continued proficiency. By contrast, affected employees are not provided with an annual review of the procedure under this standard when lockout is used. In these situations, affected employees are initially trained about the energy control procedure and its implementation and the relevance of that procedure to his/her works Under lockout conditions, the essential element of the affected employee's training is a simple one: Locks are not to be defeated or bypassed, and locked out equipment must remain deenergized. This message is reinforced whenever the affected employees work in an area where energy control procedures are being implemented, because paragraph (c)(9) of the standard requires that such employees be notified before the energy control devices are applied. Further, when a lockout device is attached to a piece of equipment by an authorized employee, an affected employee should not be able to remove the lock. and thus will not have the potential of placing the authorized employee in danger.
By contrast, however, paragraph (c)(6)(i)(D) of the Final Rule requires that when tagout is used, both authorized and affected employees must review the use of the tagout system as part of the annual inspection. This additional review is necessary because of the inherent difficulties of tagout systems as opposed to lockout: The use of tags relies uniquely upon the knowledge and training of the employees involved; and the continued reinforcement of the meaning of the tags. In a lockout system, even if an affected employee has not been adequately trained, the lock will prevent that employee from reenergizing the equipment. Tag, on the other hand, can be inadvertently or intentionally bypassed or ignored by an affected employee because the tags do not actually prevent the activation of the tagged equipment. Employees operating under a tagging system must be constantly vigilant, and their awareness of the importance of the tagout device must be frequently reinforced. OSHA believes that when tagout is used, review of the procedure must be provided on at least an annual basis in order to maximize its effectiveness.
Paragraph (c)(7)(iv) requires that employers certify that the training required by this standard has been provided. This requirement is unchanged from the proposal. Certifications are intended to cover both the initial training and the periodic retraining. In addition to certifications, the employer must be able to demonstrate that the training includes all elements of the energy control procedure which are directly relevant to the duties of the employee. The adequacy of the training can be evaluated by the employer, employee, and OSHA alike, by comparing the elements of the training to the elements of the procedure, which is required to be in written form.
Note: More preamble sections that highlight the Hot Topic: Energy Control Program are available.
Several commenters recommended that there be a "record," rather than a "certification," that training has been performed (cf, Ex 2-39, 2-62 and 2-69). OSHA believes that a written certification serves the same purpose, while minimizing the paperwork burden on employers. It should be noted that the certification is not intended as a means of evaluating the completeness or efficacy of the training; it only provides an indication that training has been performed. The quality and content of the training are not evaluated through the certification of performance. As noted earlier, the standard sets forth the elements which must be included in the training for the employees. In evaluating whether an employee has been adequately trained, OSHA will examine the employee's responsibilities under the energy control program in relation to the elements of the standard.
OSHA proposed in paragraph (c)(6) that energy isolating devices used for the control of potentially hazardous energy sources, including valves, be marked or labeled to identify the equipment supplied and the energy type and magnitude, unless they are positioned and arranged so that these elements are evident, and that the devices only be operated by authorized employees. OSHA reasserted that employees working with energy control procedures need adequate information about the hazards of the equipment that they are servicing, and they must be certain that the equipment they are working on is the same equipment that was intended to be disabled. They should feel confident that they have secured the correct energy control devices and are protected from the hazards of inadvertently working on energized equipment.
The proposed identification requirement of paragraph (c)(6)(i) would have applied to all energy isolating devices, including devices which control hydraulic, pneumatic, steam, and similar energy sources by the use of valves or similar devices to isolate and block energy flow. It would also have applied to the valves used in pipeline network process operations, such as those found in petroleum and chemical operations.
The requirement for marking or labeling energy isolating devices to identify the equipment supplied and the type and magnitude of the energy, received considerable comment. Eleven commenters (Ex. 2-14, 2-20, 2-28, 2-32, 2-39, 2-51, 2-52, 2-53, 2-58, 2-68, and 2-70) questioned the need to specify the magnitude of the energy while two commenters (Ex. 2-32 and 2-34) questioned the ability to mark valves, etc. when the material and the magnitude of the energy contained in the material conveyed could be almost continuously variable. Seven commenters (Ex. 2-21, 2-34, 2-39, 2-46, 2-61, 2-69 and 2-70) suggested removing the requirement. Five commenters (Ex. 2-22, 2-44, 2-52, 2-58 and 2-59) proposed allowing the use of drawings, schematics, temporary tags or work permits to serve as an alternative to marking or labeling energy isolating devices. Two commenters (Ex. 2-39 and 2-62) recommended that training of qualified persons would supply the information rather than marking the energy isolating devices.
OSHA has determined that the marking or labeling of energy isolating devices is not reasonably necessary for the effectiveness of the energy control program. Authorized employees are required at (c)(7)(i)(A) to receive training in and to know that information relating to hazardous energy. Authorized employees, in order to perform their servicing or maintenance duties under the energy control procedure, are required to know the type and magnitude of the energy sources which must be controlled. The marking or labeling of the sources themselves will not provide the authorized employees with any additional information. Second, as far as affected or other employees are concerned, their role in the energy control program is essentially to understand what the program is designed to accomplish, and to recognize that when they see an energy isolating device with a tag and/or lock on it, they are not to touch the equipment, regardless of what the type and magnitude of the energy might be. OSHA believes that marking the equipment with this information would not enhance the protection of these employees, because their compliance with the energy control procedure does not depend upon knowledge of these details.
Accordingly, OSHA has eliminated the proposed requirement for marking or labeling energy isolating devices. In its place, OSHA is incorporating a specific requirement in paragraph (c)(7)(i)(A) that authorized employees be trained in the recognition of applicable hazardous energy sources, the type and magnitude of the energy available in the workplace, and in the methods and means necessary for energy isolation and control. OSHA further requires in paragraph (d)(1) that authorized employees must know the type and magnitude of the energy, the hazards of the energy to be controlled and the method or means to control the energy even before the machine or equipment is turned off. OSHA believes that employee knowledge of this information is essential to ensure that the correct energy control devices are used on the proper energy isolating devices and in the proper manner. This provision requires the employee to have that specific information prior to deenergizing the equipment, in order to control the energy and render the machine or equipment safe to work on. OSHA does recognize that the physical shutdown of the machine or equipment can be accomplished by either the authorized or affected employee.
The new paragraph (c)(8) requires that lockout or tagout be performed only by the authorized employees who are performing the maintenance or servicing. These are the only employees who are required to be trained to know in detail about the types of energy available in the workplace and how to control the hazards of that energy. Only properly trained and qualified employees can be relied on to deenergize and to properly lockout or tagout machines or equipment which are being serviced or maintained, in order to ensure that the work will be accomplished safely.
In paragraph (c)(9), OSHA requires that whenever servicing or maintenance might affect other employees' work activities, the employer or the authorized employee must tell those employees before applying lockout or tagout devices and after they are removed that servicing or maintenance is going to be done or has been completed on a machine or equipment.
There were four commenters (Ex. 2-20, 2-21, 2-64 and 2-74) who discussed this provision. One commenter (Ex. 2-20) recommended that the notification occur after removal of the energy control device while one person (Ex. 2-21) suggested that the "qualified" persons not be required to notify affected employees of the energy control device removal, particularly in emergency repair conditions. Finally, two commenters (Ex. 2-64 and 2-74) insisted that the requirement was unnecessary, especially since employees must be trained and the lockout or tagout effectively prevents machine or equipment energization.
OSHA believes that this requirement is an essential component of the total energy control program. Notification of affected employees when lockout or tagout is going to be applied provides the perfect opportunity for the employer or authorized employee who notifies them of the impending interruption of the normal production operation to remind them and reinforce the importance of the restrictions imposed upon them by the energy control program.
OSHA believes that these measures are important to ensure that employees who operate or use machines or equipment do not unknowingly attempt to reenergize those machines or equipment that have been taken out of service and deenergized for the performance of activities covered by this standard. The lack of information regarding the status of the equipment could endanger both the servicing employees and the employees attempting to reenergize or operate the equipment. Such notification is also needed after servicing is completed to assure that employees know when the control measures have been removed. Without such information, employees might mistakenly believe that a system is still deenergized and that it is safe to continue working on or around it.
Note: The following paragraphs conclude the highlighted preamble selections for the Hot Topic: Energy Control Program.
This standard for the control of hazardous energy is a "generic" standard, and is written largely in terms of the procedures and performance to be achieved. OSHA does not consider it practical to prescribe specific definitive criteria for each possible use of energy control measures in such a wide ranging standard. However, the Agency believes that the standard will enable the user to make a choice of the most effective control measure involving the use of locks or tags, or a combination of the two devices for securing energy isolating devices. (As discussed above, paragraph (c) of the standard provides criteria for the selection of such devices.)
The main thrust of the standard is to mandate the development, documentation and utilization of procedures, the training of employees in their responsibilities under the energy control program and periodic inspections to ensure the continued effectiveness of the energy control program. The employer is given considerable flexibility in developing a control program, and such a program will be evaluated by OSHA compliance officers to determine whether it meets all the criteria in this standard.
Note: This ends the highlighted preamble selections for the Hot Topic: Energy Control Program.
Although the Final Rule notes the Agency preference for lockout, this standard does not impose lockout requirements in all cases for reasons discussed earlier. OSHA intends to address the need for and the feasibility of more specific lockout or tagout requirements for particular types of equipment or processes on an individual basis, as appropriate, in future rulemakings. This will involve revision of existing standards and promulgation of new ones, as necessary. (Examples of current provisions in the OSHA standards which contain specific lockout/tagout requirements can be found in the previous discussion of proposed paragraph (a)(3)(ii).)
Paragraph (d) of the Final Rule provides that six separate and distinct steps be followed in stopping, deenergizing and locking out or tagging machines or equipment, and that the actions be taken in the sequence presented. Paragraph (d)(1) requires that in preparation for shutdown of machinery or equipment, the authorized employee must know about the type and magnitude of the energy, the hazards involved, and the means of controlling them. Paragraph (d)(2) then requires that the machine or equipment be turned off or shut down according to the procedure normally employed for stopping the machine or equipment. This will be done by the authorized employee or the affected employee (the machine or equipment operator or user). This is the starting point for all subsequent actions necessary to put the machine or equipment in a state that will permit employees to work on it safely.
In many operations, activation of an electrical push-buttons control or the movement of a simple throw switch (electrical, hydraulic, or pneumatic) to the "stop" or "off" mode is sufficient to meet this provision. In other cases, however, such as those found in a refining or chemical process, there are many control devices that must be closed, shut down or stopped in a particular sequence. In these instances, a series of predetermined steps may be necessary to achieve a shutdown of the machine or equipment.
One commenter (Ex. 2-28) suggested that any qualified (trained) employee be allowed to shut down or turn off machines or equipment. Another commenter(Ex. 2-41) suggested allowing machine operators to shut down or turn off the equipment. OSHA is aware that although an authorized employee would usually have the necessary knowledge and capability to shut down machines or equipment, a machine or equipment operator or user should also be in a position and know how to shut down the machine or equipment he/she is utilizing. In many cases, allowing a machine or equipment operator or user to shut it down when something goes wrong may save time and money, and may possibly avoid an accident. In many cases, the affected employee may be infinitely more familiar with the shutdown procedure for a machine or equipment, and should be able to accomplish the shutdown more rapidly and safely than an authorized person who does not work with that particular machine of equipment every day.
In the event that a machine or equipment malfunctions, the wise and prudent thing to do in most cases is to require that the machine or equipment be immediately shut down. Shutting down a machine or equipment is analogous to stopping the production operation. Contrary to the opinion of one commenter (Ex. 2-71) who stated that OSHA should not mandate equipment shut down as the mandatory first step of the procedure, OSHA believes that stopping the machine's production function is the necessary and appropriate first step in the procedure. This commenter suggested that some machinery should have components moved to a safe position before shutting off the power. OSHA believes that the necessary first step is to interrupt the production process to allow non-servicing (affected) personnel to move clear of the machinery or equipment. Once this is done and employees are not exposed to a hazard, the machine or equipment can be restarted by the authorized employee under the guidelines of paragraph (f)(1) when necessary to allow positioning of the machine or equipment, or components thereof.
Following shutdown of the machine or equipment as outlined in (d)(2), paragraph (d)(3), as the next step in the procedure, provides that energy isolation devices be physically located and operated in such a manner as to isolate the machine or equipment from the energy source(s). For example, once an electrical push-button control has been utilized to stop the movement of machine or equipment parts as the first step of the shutdown procedure, isolation can then be accomplished by ensuring that the push-button circuitry cannot be supplied with additional electrical energy. For such equipment, the isolation requirement can be accomplished by the employee's actions in tracing the path from the control toward the energy source until he/she locates the energy isolating device, and moving the energy isolating device control lever to the "safe," "off," or "open" position. Performing these actions will prevent the introduction of energy to the push-button circuitry and will isolate the operating control and the machine or equipment from the energy source.
One commenter (Ex. 2-41) suggested that OSHA add the restriction that only authorized employees be allowed to either locate and operate or supervise the operation of energy isolating devices. Instead of adding individual restrictions to each of the procedural steps of the standard, OSHA has added a new paragraph (c)(8) to the final standard which requires that all steps of the procedure except initial shutdown of the equipment as provided in paragraph (d)(1) be performed only by the authorized employee(s) who are performing the servicing or maintenance. Since the use of lockout or tagout is presumed by OSHA to be individual protection, identification and operation of the energy isolating devices are done by the authorized employees who are applying the locks or tags under the procedures and who are performing the servicing or maintenance.
As the fourth step in the procedure, paragraph (d)(4) provides that action be taken to secure the energy isolating devices in a "safe" or "off" position. This paragraph requires that appropriate and effective lockout or tagout devices be affixed to each energy isolating device by the authorized employee, and that they be attached so as to prevent reactivation of the machine or equipment.
Where no specific standard presently requires the use of lockout versus tagout, paragraph (d)(4) requires the employer to select an appropriate and effective method in accordance with the criteria set forth in paragraph (c)(2) above. OSHA is of the opinion that as a general rule, when it is feasible, the physical protection offered by the use of a lockout, when supported by the information provided on a tag used in conjunction with the lock, provides the greatest assurance of employee protection from the release of hazardous energy. OSHA has discussed in the section entitled "Major Issues" the arguments for the use of lockout and tagout.
Paragraph (d)(5) provides that the next step taken in the energy control procedure is to determine the presence of, and relieve, disconnect and/or restrain all potentially hazardous, stored or residual energy in the machine or equipment. Up to this point, the purpose of following all the steps of the procedure has been to enable the employee to isolate and block the source of energy feeding the machine or equipment to be worked on, at a point beyond which it can not be bypassed. However, energy can very easily be trapped in a system downstream from an energy isolating device, or can be present in the form of potential energy from gravity or from spring action. Stored or residual energy of this sort cannot be turned on or off; it must be dissipated or controlled.
When energy may still be present in a system that has been isolated from the energy source, this paragraph requires that energy to be controlled before an employee attempts to perform any work covered by the scope of the standard. Compliance with this provision might require, for example, the use of blocks or other physical restraints to immobilize the machine, machine components, or equipment where necessary for control of the hazard. In the case of electrical circuits, grounding might be necessary to discharge hazardous energy. Hydraulic or pneumatic systems might necessitate the use of bleed valves to relieve the pressure.
There were four commenters (Ex. 2-32, 2-71, 2-74 and 2-80) who discussed the requirement for the release or restraint of stored or residual energy. One commenter (Ex. 2-71) pointed out that there are several types of stored or potential energy which only the concept of zero mechanical state (ZMS) adequately covers. Examples of these hazards are machinery components which run on a cam or other concentric. For this type of machinery, the cam or concentric dictates the motion of the machinery component. Stoppage of the machine with the cam or concentric follower in or near a peak position can cause the machinery elements to move if the cam or concentric is set in motion by inadvertent employee contact.
ZMS is the concept which was originally developed to simplify the requirements for disabling sophisticated machines and processes by reducing the possibility of mechanical movement to a minimum. The concept of ZMS is spelled out in the ANSI Z241.1-1975 American National Standard Safety Requirements for Sand Preparation, Molding and Coremaking in the Sand Foundry Industry. (Ex. 2-71). ZMS specifies that every power source that can produce movement of a machine member must be locked out.
OSHA has revised this aforementioned consensus standard and believes that adoption of this OSHA standard will better effectuate the purposes of the OSH Act. The OSHA standard requires the adoption and utilization of a complete program for the control of hazardous energy, including energy sources not specifically addressed by the ANSI Z241.1 standard. Further, OSHA believes that the energy control procedures established in this final rule are consistent in most respects with those of ANSI Z241.1.
The Final Rule addresses these and other hazards of stored or residual energy in a performance manner. Rather than trying to determine all of the potential manners in which this energy can be stored or retained in machines, equipment and the materials being utilized in the production process, as noted earlier, OSHA requires in paragraph (d)(1) that the authorized employee must have knowledge of the energy, its hazard and how to control it (including stored or residual energy). This paragraph (d)(5) requires the stored or residual energy to be relieved, disconnected, restrained or otherwise rendered safe as part of the energy control procedure.
One commenter (Ex. 2-74) suggested adding the phrase, "unless stored mechanical energy is a necessary element in the equipment or process." OSHA has answered this objection by requiring in this provision that stored or residual energy must be rendered safe before the servicing or maintenance may be conducted. OSHA believes that if stored or residual energy is hazardous, something must be done to protect the employees.
One commenter (Ex. 2-80) said that OSHA should consider a block, chain or other instrument used for restraining stored or residual energy to be a type of energy isolating device which does not require a lock or tag. Although OSHA defines a block as a form of energy isolating device, the requirement for the use of locks or tags is separate and distinct from the requirement for restraining stored or residual energy and the addition of a lock or tag, in most cases, would not materially add to the effectiveness of the block.
One commenter (E x. 2-32) suggested making it clear that the stored or residual energy is only that which is downstream from the energy isolating device. OSHA acknowledges that the standard is intended to control energy as it relates to the energy isolating device and the machine or equipment being serviced, and that the only stored or residual energy addressed by the standard is that which could reenergize that equipment or be released while the servicing operation is being performed.
Verification of isolation shall be continued until the servicing or maintenance is completed, or until the possibility of reaccumulation of stored energy no longer exists. There was one commenter (Ex. 2-32) who stated that no work should be allowed to proceed until there is assurance that reaccumulation of energy cannot occur.
OSHA believes that this requirement of the standard should remain as proposed since there is no manner to ensure that some leakage or drainage of energy or energy containing substances, such as supercooled or cryogenic fluids, can occur. In the case of one of those substances being present in a piping, containment or transport system, a certain amount of leakage may occur without endangering employees. However, if servicing or maintenance must be performed on such a system, the standard requires the employer to continue to verify the isolation of energy sources which may be hazardous, in order to assure that such leakage does not approach a dangerous level. This may involve means such as continuous monitoring for the displacement of oxygen or the buildup of the concentration of the substance toward the lower explosive limit of the substance, such as could occur with a hydrogen system.
In paragraph (d)(6), as the sixth step in the energy control procedure, the authorized employee must ensure that the previous steps of the procedure have been taken to isolate the machine or equipment effectively. This must be done prior to starting the servicing or maintenance work. The authorized employee needs to verify that the machine or equipment has been turned off or shut down properly as required by paragraph (d)(2) of this standard; that all energy isolating devices were identified, located and operated as required by paragraph (d)(3); that the lockout or tagout devices have been attached to energy isolating devices as required by paragraph (d)(4); and that stored energy has been rendered safe as required by paragraph (d)(5).
This step of the procedure may involve a deliberate attempt to start the equipment which has been isolated from the energy. It is an action intended to assure the employee that the machine or equipment is isolated from the energy, that residual or stored energy has been dissipated or blocked and that injury could not result from the inadvertent activation of the operating controls. Another means of verifying is testing the machine or equipment with the appropriate test instruments. This method would be appropriate for use in cases involving electrical circuits and equipment, for example, where verification of isolation could be accomplished by using a voltmeter to determine that there is no electrical energy available to the machine. Similar test equipment can be utilized to test for the presence of other energy types and sources.
OSHA also considers the use of visual inspection procedures to be of critical importance throughout the lockout or tagout procedures. Visual inspection can confirm that switches, valves, breakers, etc. have been properly moved to and secured in the "off" or "safe" position. Observing the position of the electrical main power disconnect switch can, for example, confirm that the switch is either in the "off" (open) or "on" (closed) position. Visual inspection can also verify whether or not locks and other protective devices have been applied to the control points in a manner that would present the unsafe movement of the switches or valves. Finally, a visual inspection can be used to verify that isolation has taken place by determining that all motion has stopped and that all coasting parts such as flywheels, grinding wheels, saw blades, etc., have come to rest.
OSHA emphasizes that in order to verify that hazardous energy has been isolated, the authorized employee may need to use a combination of the above methods. The appropriate combination will depend upon the type of machinery or equipment involved, the complexity of the system, and other factors.
Paragraph (e) requires that certain actions be taken by authorized employees before lockout or tagout devices are removed from energy isolating devices. These actions are intended to ensure that: (1) The machine or equipment has been returned to a safe operating condition; (2) any employees who might be exposed to injury due to the starting of the machine or equipment know that the machine or equipment is being energized; and (3) those employees who applied the energy control devices are available to remove those devices.
One commenter (Ex. 2-70) contended that the requirements of paragraph (e) were unduly burdensome and impractical in large plants where numerous employees may be working. OSHA does not believe that this is the case. When servicing or maintenance is done on a large machine or complex system of equipment by a large number of employees, the machine or equipment would probably be operationally intact before the work begins. When the work is completed, paragraph (e)(1) merely requires that before the equipment is reenergized, the employees who did the servicing or maintenance work complete the job by replacing guards and other machinery components and cleaning up after themselves. Paragraph (e)(2) then requires a check to ensure that employees are safely positioned and have been notified that the machine or equipment is to be reenergized. A simple procedure to follow to verify that the work area and the machinery is ready to be used for its production function is for a foreman, supervisor or leadman (whoever is in charge) to ask the workmen if they are done and then to spot check to ensure that all appears ready to resume normal operations. Affected employees may be notified of the impending start up of the machine or equipment by the use of warning bells or lights provided these employees know what that signal indicates.
Because each servicing employee will have his/her own lockout or tagout device attached to the energy isolating device during the servicing operation, the person in charge of the servicing operation will first determine whether all such devices have been removed by the servicing employees. This is an essential step in the procedure, and paragraph (e) requires that a final verification be performed to ensure that it is safe to reenergize the equipment after servicing is completed. Further, a check on the satisfactory completion of the work can also ensure that the machine or equipment will not be damaged by its start up. Although the purpose of the final check is to protect employees, it can also prevent needless downtime of the machine or equipment because the servicing or maintenance was not done correctly and/or completely the first time.
Paragraph (e)(l) requires that the workplace area around the machine or equipment be inspected to ensure that nonessential items have been removed and that equipment components are operationally intact. This step ensures that tools, machine parts and materials have been removed, and that mechanical restraints, guards and other machine parts have been replaced before returning the machine or equipment to its operational mode. Depending on the size or complexity of the machine and the type and degree of the servicing performed, visual inspection alone might be sufficient to meet this requirement; however, additional measures, such as checklists and other administrative procedures might have to be utilized for large, complex machines or equipment.
One commenter (Ex. 2-28) suggested the elimination of the words "nonessential items" from this requirement and to substitute words which indicate that the only things that must be removed are those items which could cause injury to employees or damage to items. OSHA believes that the cleanup requirement must of necessity be a broad one, since virtually any extraneous item in the servicing area can potentially cause injury to employees if the machine or equipment were to be reenergized or started up before such items are removed. Further, OSHA believes that the cleanup process should not involve an evaluation of whether each item in the area could or could not cause injury. If an item does not have to be in the servicing area after the servicing is completed, OSHA believes that the prudent step is to assure that it is removed before the equipment is reenergized. Accordingly, paragraph (e)(1) is not being changed from the proposal.
In paragraph (e)(2), OSHA proposed that the work area be checked to be sure that employees are clear of the machine or equipment before energy is restored to it. This determination usually can be accomplished by a visual inspection, however, depending on the size and/or complexity of the equipment and the scope of the operation, may necessitate the use of warning devices such as horns, bells or buzzers.
There was one commenter (Ex. 2-28) who discussed this requirement. This commenter suggested that the terms "work area" and "all employees" were vague and misleading. OSHA believes that the "work area" for servicing will depend upon many factors, such as the type of equipment being serviced, the type of energy involved, and the extent of the servicing operation. OSHA's intent is that the work area include any area in the immediate vicinity of the machine or equipment being serviced, in which employees might be endangered by the startup process. Because of the broad scope of this standard, it is not possible to define with greater specificity what this area will encompass for any given workplace or servicing operation. The employer is in the best position to evaluate the equipment in the workplace, and to make a determination of the areas where employees may be exposed to the hazards of the machine or equipment unexpectedly becoming energized or starting up.
It cannot be overemphasized that employees performing tasks on deenergized equipment may be exposed to hazards involving serious injury or death if the status of the lockout or tagout control can be changed without their knowledge. Lockout or tagout is personal protection. For this reason, OSHA requires in paragraph (e)(3) that lockout or tagout devices be removed by the employees who applied them except in limited situations. In the proposed standard, OSHA considered whether an exception should be provided whenever two conditions exist which would necessitate the removal of a lockout or tagout device by an authorized employee other than the employee who applied the device. Paragraph (e)(3)(i), as proposed, would have permitted other authorized employees to remove a lockout or tagout device when the employee who applied the lockout or tagout device is not available to remove it. This provision was intended to cover situations such as those that might arise from the sudden sickness or injury of an employee, key loss, or other emergency conditions. Proposed paragraph (e)(3)(ii) would have permitted use of the exception for unique operating activities involving complex systems, where the employer could demonstrate that it was not feasible to have the device removed by the employee applying it. This was intended to provide flexibility in operations similar to when the removal of a lockout or tagout device at a remote electrical transmission or distribution system location was required and the process was controlled by a written procedure that uses an authorized employee operating from a central control point to communicate instructions to employees working in the field.
There were 9 commenters (Ex. 2-29, 2-32, 2-44, 2-50, 2-57, 2-58, 2-59, 2-63 and 2-70) who discussed allowing exceptions to the rule requiring that lockout devices have to be removed by the employees who applied the devices. Two commenters (Ex. 2-29 and 2-44) stated that the exceptions as written were too broadly drawn and would nullify the standard. Several commenters (Ex. 2-32, 2-57 and 2-63) claimed that allowing any exceptions would be unsafe. In contrast, there were four commenters (Ex. 2-50, 2-58, 2-59 and 2-70) who suggested that the exception should be more flexible so that the employer has more leeway, such as allowing the existence of either, rather than both, of the two conditions spelled out in proposed paragraphs (e)(3)(i) and (e)(3)(ii) to trigger the exception.
In paragraph (e)(3) of this Final Rule, OSHA is requiring that as a general rule, the authorized employee who affixes a lockout or tagout device is the only one allowed to remove it. OSHA believes that each employee must have the assurance that the device is in his/her control, and that it will not be removed by anyone else except in an emergency situation. The entire energy control program in this standard depends upon each employee recognizing and respecting another employee's lockout or tagout device. The servicing employee relies upon the fact that he/she applied the device, and assumes that it will remain on the equipment while he/she is exposed to the hazards of the servicing operation.
OSHA can envision very few instances which would justify one employee's removal of another's lockout or tagout device. However, in a true emergency, and not merely because the employee is not available, the employer may be able to demonstrate a need to remove an employee's lockout or tagout device. An exception to paragraph (e)(3) of the final rule is being provided to allow for such situations, and is discussed further below. OSHA emphasizes that removal of a personal lockout or tagout device by another person may not be based on convenience or simple unavailability of the employee. If a lockout or tagout device is attached, it is assumed that the employee who attached that device is engaged in servicing the equipment on which the device is in use, and that person is exposed to the hazards of reenergization. Therefore, as a general matter, the protection of that employee requires that he/she have complete control over his/her lockout or tagout device. Some modification of the general rule is warranted in the case of transfer of authority between shifts as discussed in paragraph (f)(4) below, and to a limited extent in group lockout or tagout, as discussed in paragraph (f)(3) below, both of which involve coordination of activities between servicing employees.
Under the exception to paragraph (e)(3), the employer may direct the removal of a lockout or tagout device by another employee only if the energy control program incorporates specific procedures and training for that purpose, and only where the employer can demonstrate that the alternative procedure will provide equivalent safety to having the employee remove his/her own device. The procedure must include, at a minimum, the following items: First, verification that the authorized employee is not at the facility; second, making all reasonable efforts to contact that employee to inform him/her that his/her device has been removed; and third, ensuring that employee knows of that device removal before he/she resumes work at the facility. These steps are necessary to ensure that the employee who is protected by the device is not exposed to energy hazards either at the time of its removal or afterwards.
Paragraph (f)(1) requires that the employer develop and utilize a procedure that establishes a sequence of actions to be taken in situations where energy isolating devices are locked out or tagged out and there is a need for testing or positioning of the machine or equipment or components thereof. These actions are necessary in order to maintain the integrity of any lockout or tagout protection for the servicing employees. It is also necessary in order to provide optimum safety coverage for employees when they have to go from a deenergized condition to an energized one and then return the system to lockout or tagout control. It is during these transition periods that employee exposure to hazards is high, and a sequence of steps to accomplish these tasks safely is needed.
Paragraph (f)(l) prescribes a logical sequence of steps to be followed in a situation where energy isolating devices are locked out or tagged out, and when there is a need to test or position the machine, equipment or components thereof. The steps offer necessary protection to employees when they are involved in this activity. The procedure is clear-cut and should require little or no explanation other than the contents of the standard itself.
It should be pointed out that OSHA is allowing the removal of the lockout or tagout devices and the reenergization of the machine or equipment only during the limited time necessary for the testing or positioning of the machine, equipment or component thereof. This paragraph does not allow the employer or employee to disregard the requirement for locking out or tagging out during the other portions of the servicing or maintenance operation. This exception provides for a temporary measure to be used only to accomplish a particular task for which reenergization is essential.
In paragraphs (f)(2) (i) and (ii), the final standard requires that whenever outside servicing personnel are engaged to perform any of the activities covered by this standard, each employer must inform the other employer of their respective lockout or tagout procedures. Each employer shall ensure that his/her employees understand and comply with the restrictions and prohibitions of the other employer's energy control program.
These requirements are necessary when outside personnel work on machines or equipment because their activities have the same or greater potential for exposing employees to servicing hazards as would exist if the employer's own employees were performing the work. These hazards can pose a threat to both the outside service representatives and the employees in the plant or facility.
The outside servicing personnel would certainly be expected to know about the specific equipment being serviced, but they might not be familiar with the energy control procedures being used in the particular workplace. Similarly, the employees at the worksite might be familiar with the procedures being used by their fellow employees, but they might not know what to do if the contractor has a procedure which differs from their own. If such procedures were not coordinated, each group of employees might be endangered by the actions of the other, even if each one followed its own procedures.
This standard is intended to ensure that both the employer and the outside service personnel are aware that their interaction can be a possible source of injury to employees and that the close coordination of their activities is needed in order to reduce the likelihood of such injury. OSHA sees the proper utilization of these provisions, when they are understood and adhered to, as a way to prevent misunderstandings by either plant employees or outside service personnel regarding the use of lockout or tagout procedures in general, the use of specific lockout or tagout devices that are selected for a particular application, and the restrictions and prohibitions imposed upon each group of employees by the other employer's energy control program.
There were several commenters (Ex. 2-3, 2-41, 2-58 and 2-67) who suggested OSHA require outside contractors to use the same procedures as used in the plant or facility that the work is being done. OSHA believes that it might adversely affect the safety of employees if the standard were to require them to comply with a procedure which is unfamiliar to them and differs from their usual practices under their own employer's energy control program. Further, by allowing each employee to use the procedure that he/she is familiar with, there is greater assurance that the employees will willingly use the procedure.
The standard requires that each employer inform the other employer of the procedures used by his/her employees and that each employer's employees understand and comply with the restrictions and prohibitions of the other employer's energy control program. For example, if there are elements of the contractor's procedures which need to be explained to the facility employees, or if there are other steps needed to assure the safety of the contractor's employees, the facility employer must provide his/her employees with the information to provide the necessary protection.
Several commenters (Ex. 2-35, 2-39, 2-40, and 2-69) recommended specifying that the plant or facility employer require compatibility of procedures. Because of the wide range of potential programs and procedures to be developed under this standard, OSHA considers that a requirement for full compatibility of procedures would be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with any degree of consistency. However, OSHA believes that if each employer provides the necessary information on his/her energy control procedures to the other employer, both employers will be able to evaluate the different procedure and determine what information needs to be provided to their respective employees.
Accordingly, paragraph (f)(2) of the Final Rule requires that the contracting and contractor employers inform each other about the lockout or tagout procedures each uses; and that the employees of each employer understand and comply with the restrictions and prohibitions of the other employer's energy control program.
The requirement for coordination between the contractor and the on-site employer is intended to deal with the potential for either one's employees to create or compound the hazards to which the other's employees are exposed. Regardless of the degree of coordination required by paragraph (f)(2), each covered employer, whether contractor or on-site employer, has an independent obligation under the OSH Act to provide the protection under the standard for his/her own employees.
The facility owner will need to look at various aspects of the contractor's energy control program to assure that his/her employees are not placed at an increased risk. For example, is the contractor's means of notifying the affected employees of the pending lockout or tagout as thorough as the facility employer's? Is the procedure for identifying the energy isolating devices as exhaustive or complete as the facility employer's? Is the method of lockout or tagout used by the contractor recognized and respected by the facility's employees? Does the contractor's procedure take into account the possibility of reaccumulation of stored energy (if that is a potential problem)? Does the contractor's procedure for removal of lockout or tagout devices and reenergization and startup of the machine or equipment provide for employee notification and ensuring the equipment is safe before startup? if any of the steps in the contractor's procedures fail to cover significant or essential conditions of the workplace which could adversely affect the safety of the facility employees, action must be taken by the facility employer to minimize the potential for injury to his/ her employees.
Note: The following paragraphs highlight preamble selections for the Hot Topic: Group Lockout or Tagout.
Proposed paragraph (f)(3) contained a series of provisions dealing with group lockout. In brief, group lockout involves the performance of servicing or maintenance activities when more than one employee is engaged in the servicing operation, using a group lockout device, with an authorized employee directly responsible for the performance of the overall servicing. The proposed requirement for group lockout specified that the authorized employee would have a primary lock, which is affixed when the equipment is deenergized, and is removed when the job is completed. It did not provide for the use of individual locks or tags by the individual employees in the group. The proposal would have allowed this system, with the authorized employee being responsible for the safety of all the employees in the group, if that program provided the same degree of safety as personal lockout or tagout.
Based on the record (Ex. 2-27, 2-29, 2-32, 2-44, 2-63, 2-99, 2-106, 51, 56, 60, Tr. pg. W1-142), OSHA has reexamined the issue of group lockout and has concluded that an additional element is necessary for the safety of the servicing employees: each employee in the group needs to be able to affix his/her personal lockout or tagout system device as part of the group lockout. This is necessary for several reasons: first, the placement of a personal lockout or tagout device enables that employee to control his/her own protection, rather than having to depend upon another person; second, the use of a personal lockout or tagout device will enable each servicing employee to verify that the equipment has been properly deenergized in accordance with the energy control procedure, and to affix his/her device to indicate that verification; third, the presence of an employee's lockout or tagout device will inform all other persons that the employee is working on the equipment; fourth, as long as that device remains attached, all employees know that the job is not completed and that it is not safe to reenergize the equipment; and fifth, the servicing employee will continue to be protected by the presence of his/her device until he/she removes it. The authorized employee in charge of the group lockout or tagout cannot reenergize the equipment until each employee in the group has removed his/her personal device, indicating that he/she is no longer exposed to the hazards from reenergization of the machine or equipment. OSHA is convinced that the use of individual lockout or tagout devices as part of the group lockout provides the greatest assurance of protection for servicing employees.
The proposed rule contained several general elements for group lockout, including a provision on primary responsibility and coordination of work forces. These elements are carried forward in the Final Rule. The requirement for the use of personal lockout or tagout devices will only enhance the overall effectiveness of these provisions, because the authorized employee in charge of the group lockout will be better able to evaluate the status of the servicing operation, as well as to determine which, if any, of the servicing employees are working on the equipment at a particular time.
OSHA requires in paragraph (f)(3) that when a crew, craft, department or other group lockout or tagout device is used, it must provide the authorized and affected employees with a degree of protection that is equivalent to the use of personal lockout or tagout procedures. As in the case of personal lockout or tagout, the employer who uses group lockout or tagout must develop a procedure which encompasses the elements set forth in paragraph (c)(4).
Paragraph (f)(3) contains several key provisions which must be included in all group lockout or tagout procedures. If a single lockout device or set of lockbox devices (often referred to as "operations locks") are utilized to isolate the machine or equipment from the energy sources, each authorized employee is afforded a means to utilize his/her personal lockout or tagout devices so that no single employee has control of the means to remove the group lockout or tagout devices while employees are still servicing or maintaining the machine or equipment. This can be accomplished by the use of a lockout or other similar appliance. Once the machine or equipment is locked out, the key is placed into the lockbox and each authorized employee places his/her lockout or tagout device on the box. When each individual completes his/her portion of the work, that person removes his/her lockout or tagout device from the lockbox. Once all personal lockout or tagout devices have been removed, the key for the group lockout devices for the machine or equipment can be used to remove that group lockout device. This method provides individual protection for all employees working under the protection of a particular lockout or tagout device. When more than one group is involved, another authorized person might need to maintain responsibility for coordination of the various lockout control groups in order to ensure continuity of protection and to coordinate workforces.
In addition to designating and assigning responsibility to authorized employees, paragraph (f)(3) requires the employer to develop and implement procedures for determining the exposure status of individual crew members and for taking appropriate measures to control or limit that exposure.
These provisions are seen by OSHA as requiring at least the following steps:
1. Verification of shutdown and isolation of the equipment or process before allowing a crew member to place a personal lockout or tagout device on an energy isolating device, or on a lockout box, board, or cabinet;
2. Ensuring that all employees in the crew have completed their assignments, removed their lockout and/or tagout devices from the energy isolating device, the box lid or other device used, and are in the clear before turning the equipment or process over to the operating personnel or simply turning the machine or equipment on.
3. Providing the necessary coordinating procedures for ensuring the safe transfer of lockout or tagout control devices between other groups and work shifts.
The special coverage of paragraph (f)(3) recognizes the importance of group lockout and/or tagout devices used under conditions in which the safety of all employees working in the group is dependent on how those devices are used. For that reason, it involves a closer examination of the conditions, methods and procedures needed for effective individual employee protection.
OSHA also believes that by requiring each servicing employee to attach his/her own device in group servicing operations, it becomes possible to extend coverage of group servicing activities under paragraph (f)(3) beyond lockout, as envisioned by the proposal, to cover tagout, as well. This would primarily involve equipment which has not been designed to accept a lockout device. OSHA believes that when a group lockout or tagout procedure is properly implemented, it adds an additional element of protection to servicing employees: the authorized employee in charge of the group servicing operation applies a group lockout or tagout device to the equipment being serviced, and each servicing employee attaches a personal lockout or tagout device to the group device. These individual devices are removed by the employees who applied them, leaving the group device attached. These employees, by clearing the equipment and removing their own devices, indicate that they are no longer exposed to the hazards of the servicing operation. The authorized employee in charge of the group servicing operation then verifies that all elements of the group servicing have, in fact, been completed, and that it is safe to reenergize the system, before he/she removes the group device. Thus, the additional step provides further assurance that reenergizing the equipment will not endanger employees. Expanding group procedures to encompass tagout as well as lockout will extend the additional protection to operations which would otherwise be permitted under this standard to use tagout devices instead of lockout.
One of the most difficult problems to be dealt with by this standard involves the servicing and maintenance of complex equipment. particularly when the work extends across several workshifts. Under the basic approach taken by this standard, each servicing employee is responsible for the application and removal of his/her own lockout or tagout device. However, the record indicates that the servicing of some complex equipment may take days or weeks, and that in some cases, hundreds of lockout or tagout devices may be necessary. EEI (Ex. 56) noted that in some major maintenance operations, it can take a day or more just to apply lockout/tagout devices to all energy isolating devices. CMA (Ex. 56) explained that in a chemical plant, certain "turn-around" jobs may require the locking or tagging of a hundred or more energy isolation devices and require 25 or more employees to perform the servicing.
When complex equipment is being serviced, OSHA recognizes the need to provide employers with the option of utilizing an alternative procedure to each employee locking or tagging out each energy isolating device. When an alternative procedure is used, it must provide equivalent protection for the authorized employees.
Note: This ends the highlighted preamble selections for the Hot Topic: Group Lockout or Tagout.
Paragraph (f)(4) of this Final Rule requires that specific procedures be utilized to ensure continuation of lockout or tagout protection for employees during shift or personnel changes in order to provide for an orderly transfer of control measures, and to be certain that the machine or equipment is continuously maintained in a safe condition. As with group lockout or tagout, the method of accomplishing this task must be part of the procedures that are defined in performance language in paragraph (c)(4). Paragraph (f)(4) requires specific procedures whenever transfer of control measures is necessary. The underlying rationale for these provisions, whereby hazardous energy control responsibility is transferred, is for the maintenance of uninterrupted protection for the employees involved. It is therefore considered essential that lockout or tagout devices be maintained on energy isolating devices throughout the transition period.
Basically, the transfer of responsibility can be accomplished by the on-coming shift employees accepting control of the system involved prior to the release of control by the off-going employees. Also, the procedures, whether they necessitate the use of simple control measures or the more detailed use of logs and check lists to accomplish an orderly transfer, are to be followed by an assurance that the system is indeed safe for employees to continue working. This assurance may involve action by the authorized supervisory employee responsible for the transfer to verify the continued isolation of the machine or equipment from the energy source.
There was considerable discussion at the hearings with regard to proposed paragraph (f)(4), concerning the need to ensure continued protection during shift or personnel changes. This paragraph was intended to provide protection for servicing operations which extend over more than one shift, usually involving from a few to large numbers of employees on each shift. OSHA attempted to provide a means of assuring that there is no gap in coverage between the off-going employee's removal of his/her lockout or tagout device and the on-coming employee's attachment of his/her own device. Several participants at the hearings testified as to methods used in their facilities to deal with this situation. EEI, for example, (Tr. pg. W2-22-2-26) testified that for complex jobs involving large numbers of energy control devices and many employees on different shifts, member companies use work permits which must be reauthorized at the beginning of each shift. The lockout/tagout devices which are attached to the energy isolating devices at the start of the job are not removed between shifts. Before beginning work, the on-coming shift employees walk through the equipment and verify that the equipment has been deenergized and that proper procedures have been followed. Another system, involving an "operations lock," was endorsed by representatives of API (Ex. 57, Tr. pg. H40) and OCAW (Tr. pg. H69-70). An "operations lock," essentially a type of group lockout device, is the first lock attached to the equipment when the equipment is deenergized, and it is the last lock removed when the job is completed. Each servicing employee attaches his/ her personal lockout/tagout device while working on the equipment, and removes the device when the job is completed, or when leaving for the day. OSHA believes that when properly implemented, either of these methods can provide adequate assurance to the on-coming employee that the equipment is safe to work on.
Perhaps the most critical element of assuring continuity of protection is providing the individual employee with an opportunity to verify that the equipment has been deenergized. Even more than in the case with individual lockout or tagout, the on-coming employee should not have to depend on the actions of another employee or supervisor, particularly one who has left the workplace for the day, for assurance that it is safe to work on the machine or equipment. The group lockout provisions in paragraph (f)(4) of the Final Rule contain what OSHA believes to be the necessary safeguards for these situations. To the extent that the procedures described by EEI, API, and OCAW provide for individual verification that the equipment has been properly deenergized, and to the extent that the procedures allow for the servicing employee to attest to that verification in accordance with the standard, OSHA believes that such procedures would comply with the Final Rule. In the case of the type of complex servicing operation described by EEI and others (Ex. 2-33, 2-36, 2-39, 2-46 and 2-69) involving large numbers of energy isolating devices, large numbers of servicing employees, and multiple shifts, OSHA acknowledges that the removal and replacement of the lockout/tagout devices each shift could be overly burdensome. In these situations, when the complexity of the servicing operation necessitates an alternative to such frequent attachment and removal of lockout or tagout devices, the use of the work permit or comparable means, with each employee signing in and out as he or she begins or stops working on the equipment, combined with the servicing employees verifying that the equipment is deenergized prior to beginning work, would be an acceptable approach to compliance with group lockout/tagout and shift change provisions of the standard.
Because the person applying the lockout or tagout device is generally the one being protected by that device, it is essential that the device not be removed by anyone else except in emergencies. When an employee transfers servicing duties to an employee on the next shift, and the equipment is to remain deenergized throughout the shift change, it should not be an undue burden to establish a procedure under paragraph (f)(4) for the off-going employee to transfer his/her authority to the oncoming employee. In situations where the off-going employee removes his/her lockout or tagout device before the oncoming employee arrives, the procedure could allow for the off-going employee to apply a tagout device at the time he/she removes his/her device, indicating that the lock had been removed, but that the machine or equipment had not been reenergized. The on-coming employee would verify that the system was still deenergized, and would remove the interim tag and substitute his/her lockout device. This would assure that the continuous protection is maintained from one shift to another. When tagout devices are used, it would be possible to use a tag with space for the off-going employee to sign off, giving the date and time, and for the on-coming employee to sign on, also giving the date and time. Each employee would verify the deenergization and energy isolation for his/her own protection before signing onto the tag.
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