OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov.

January 14, 1977



Subject: Interpretation of [29 CFR 1910.261(b)(1)], Lockouts


This is in reply to your memorandum of December 29, 1976, subject as above.

This office concurs with your interpretation for a lockout as required in [29 CFR 1910.261(b)(1)]. It is the opinion of this office that a "padlock" type device is an example of a physical method representing an effective lockout procedure, while that of a "tag out" is a visual method and is not considered as effective as the standard requires.

Richard P. Wilson, Acting Director
[Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs]

[Corrected 10/22/2004]