Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

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



June 24, 2002



Assistant Regional Administrator, Region III
[Directorate of Enforcement Programs]
SUBJECT: Guidance on "Approval" Requirements for Generic Circuit Breaker Panel Switch Lockouts in the General Industry


This memo is a revision to and supersedes the June 28, 2000 memo requesting Guidance on "Approval" Requirements for Flexible Corrugated Plastic Covers and Generic Circuit Breaker Panel Switch Lockouts. The word "...servicing..." located in the second sentence of the abovementioned memo was replaced with the word, "...securing..." to accurately reflect the standard.

Generic Circuit Breaker Panel Switch Lockouts

The generic circuit breaker panel switch lockouts you described are considered to be protective materials and hardware as outlined in 29 CFR 1910.147(c)(5)(i), Protective materials and hardware. Such protective materials used for lockout/tagout consist of locks, tags, chains, wedges, key blocks, adapter pins, self-locking fasteners, or other hardware.

The employer must provide these protective materials and hardware for isolating, securing or blocking of machines or equipment from their energy sources. Equipment accessories for lockout/tagout must meet the specifications described in 1910.147(c)(5)(i) - 1910.147(c)(5)(iii). In particular, if as stated in your letter, the generic switch lockouts can [easily] fall off, then such protective materials and/or hardware do not fulfill the requirements of 1910.147(c)(5)(ii)(C)(1).

I hope you find this information useful. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact [Office of General Industry Enforcement] at (202) 693-1850.

[Corrected 6/2/2005]