Lockout/Tag Out: September Safety & Hygiene Corner

Question:  Is it acceptable to issue LOTO locks to the operators of our equipment?  Our maintenance employees who perform the actual servicing of the equipment have their locks and are trained as such.  I would like to have the operators be able to lockout their machines/equipment when it breaks down and then notify the maintenance employees, so they can service the equipment.

Answer:  According to 1910.147(c)(8) (Energy Isolation): 

Lockout or tagout shall be performed only by the authorized employees who are performing the servicing or maintenance.

Under 1910.147(b) (Definitions) you will find two personnel roles in LOTO – Authorized and Affected.

Authorized employee. A person who locks out or tags out machines or equipment in order to perform servicing or maintenance on that machine or equipment. An affected employee becomes an authorized employee when that employee’s duties include performing servicing or maintenance covered under this section.

Affected employee. An employee whose job requires him/her to operate or use a machine or equipment on which servicing, or maintenance is being performed under lockout or tagout, or whose job requires him/her to work in an area in which such servicing or maintenance is being performed.

*Provided by the Ohio BWC safety consultants.