Control Hazardous Energy: 6 Steps

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Photo: OSHA

A mainstay on OSHA’s Top 10 list of most cited violations is the standard on lockout/tagout (1910.147).

Simply put, “lockout/tagout is a safety procedure used to make sure equipment and machines are properly shut off and not able to start during maintenance or repair work,” the Texas Department of Insurance says. “This is known as controlling hazardous energy.”

Help prevent the unexpected release of stored energy with these six steps from TDI:

  1. Prepare. An authorized employee, defined by OSHA as “a person who locks out or tags out machines or equipment in order to perform servicing or maintenance on that machine or equipment,” must identify and control all potential forms of hazardous energy.
  2. Shut down. Turn off the equipment using the proper procedures. Inform all employees who use the equipment about the shutdown.
  3. Isolation. Isolate equipment from energy sources. This may mean turning off power at a breaker.
  4. Lock and tag. Apply a lockout device to keep equipment in an energy-isolating position. Then, place a tag on the device with the authorized employee’s name who performed the lockout.
  5. Check for stored energy. Hazardous energy can remain in the equipment even after the energy source has been disconnected and the machine has been locked out.
  6. Verify isolation. Check again to ensure the equipment is isolated and deenergized before service or maintenance begins.

McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

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NIOSH to employers: Are you inspecting your lockout/tagout procedures?

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

NIOSH to employers Are you inspecting your lockout/tagout procedures
Photo: OSHA

Washington — Pointing to OSHA guidance citing “the significant risks associated with inadequate energy control procedures or the failure to properly implement them,” NIOSH is reminding employers that OSHA’s standard on lockout/tagout (1910.147) requires them to conduct an inspection of written hazardous energy control procedures at least once a year.

In fiscal year 2021, lockout/tagout ranked sixth on OSHA’S Top 10 list of most frequently cited standards, with 1,670 total violations, according to preliminary OSHA Information System data.

Within the standard, 1910.147(c)(6) – “periodic inspection” – was the third most frequently cited section, with 255 violations. In fourth, with 162 violations, was 1910.147(c)(1), which reads: “The employer shall establish a program consisting of energy control procedures, employee training and periodic inspections to ensure before any employee performs any servicing or maintenance on a machine or equipment where the unexpected energizing, startup or release of stored energy could occur and cause injury, the machine or equipment shall be isolated from the energy source and rendered inoperable.”

NIOSH offers tips and reminders for developing and maintaining a lockout/tagout program:

  • Include in written energy control procedures elements such as the scope of procedures; intended purpose; names of authorized personnel; rules for shift change, transfer of locks, etc.; and specific methods used to control hazardous energy.
  • A periodic inspection must include a demonstration of the procedures and be conducted while the authorized employee performs service/maintenance on a machine/equipment.
  • Each energy control procedure must be separately inspected to ensure the procedure is adequate and properly implemented by the authorized employee.
  • The inspector must be a lockout/tagout-authorized employee who is knowledgeable and isn’t currently performing lockout/tagout on the energy control procedure under inspection.
  • The inspector can’t implement any part of the procedure during the inspection, and must observe the implementation of the lockout/tagout procedure for the equipment or machine being evaluated and speak with at least one authorized employee who is implementing the procedure to ensure they understand the procedure.
  • If the periodic inspection process reveals deviations from the written procedures or inadequacies in an employee’s knowledge of procedures, the employee must be retrained.

NIOSH guidance document features recent case studies that detail separate workplace fatalities related to improper lockout/tagout processes.


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