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Lockout/Tagout: Are your Employees Required to be Trained?



OSHA’s standard on the Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) covers the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment in which their unexpected energization or start-up, or release of stored energy, could cause employee injury or death. The standard outlines measures for controlling various types of hazardous energies including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, and thermal.

Lockout/tagout refers to the placement of a lockout device and tag on an energy-isolating device, according to established procedures, to ensure that the energy-isolating device, and the equipment being controlled, cannot be operated until the lockout device and tag are removed. The goal is to prevent any unexpected energization or release of stored energy in equipment during service, repair, or maintenance.

Employees whose job involves locking and tagging out equipment to perform service, repair, or maintenance are considered authorized employees. Authorized employees must be trained on the recognition of applicable hazardous energy sources, the type and magnitude of the energy present in the workplace, and the methods and means necessary for energy isolation and control (e.g., deenergizing, line purging, securing). In addition, training must be provided on the specific procedures used during lockout for the machinery and equipment they may be required to maintain or repair.

There are also training requirements for employees that do not perform lockout/tagout, if there may be third party vendors/contractors onsite that do! Under the OSHA standard, these employees are considered affected employees. These are employees whose job requires them to operate or use a machine or piece of equipment on which service or maintenance is being performed under lockout/tagout, or whose job requires them to work in an area in which such servicing or maintenance is taking place.

Affected employees must have basic awareness training that allows them to recognize a hazardous energy source, know when a lockout/tagout procedure is being implemented, and understand the purpose of lockout/tagout. They must also know to never attempt to remove a lockout/tagout device or operate a piece of equipment that is locked out. Training for affected employees is often given as part of general emergency procedures and hazard communication training.

Training must be provided before an authorized or affected employee begins working in an area where maintenance and repair activities requiring lockout/tagout take place. Retraining must be provided when there is a change in job assignment, equipment, processes, or procedures. Additional training has to be given when deviations from, or inadequacies in, an employee’s knowledge or use of the energy control procedures are identified. All training is required to be documented and include the names of employees trained and training dates.

For additional information on the training requirements of the Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) Standard, or for assistance providing training at your facility, please contact us.

This blog was written by Beth Graham, Safety Partners’ Director of Quality, Research, and Training.

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