Many industrial accidents caused across the globe are due to the sudden start-up of machines, equipment or by the uncontrolled release of energy. Many of these accidents can be prevented by the use of proper Lockout/Tagout procedures.

Lockout Tagout helps safeguard employees from hazardous energy while they are performing service or maintenance on machines and equipment. It requires that hazardous power sources are "isolated and rendered inoperative" before any repair procedure is started.

The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. According to the OSHA standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout), Title 29 CFR (Code of Federal Regulations Part 1910.147), it addresses the practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment, thereby preventing the release of hazardous energy while employees perform servicing and maintenance activities.

What is Lockout /Tagout?

Lockout: The placement of a lockout device on an energy isolating device, in accordance with an established procedure, ensuring that the energy isolating device and the equipment being controlled cannot be operated until the lockout device is removed.

Tagout: The placement of a Tagout device on an energy isolating device, in accordance with an established procedure, to indicate that the energy isolating device and the equipment being controlled may not be operated until the Tagout device is removed.

What Lockout /Tagout Applies To

According to 29 CFR part 1910.147 Lockout/Tagout applies to the following:

  • An employee is required to remove or bypass a guard or other safety device
  • An employee required to place any part of his or her body into an area on a machine or piece of equipment where work is actually performed upon the material being processed (Point of Operation)
  • Where an associated danger zone exists during a machine operating cycle

Identify Different Sources of Energy

Although electricity is the main source of energy in all the organizations, different types of hazardous energy sources should be included in the Lockout / Tagout program. The different energy sources are:

  • Electrical
  • Mechanical (i.e. motors, drive belts)
  • Chemical (i.e. natural gas, propane)
  • Thermal
  • Pneumatic
  • Hydraulic

Types of Lockout Devices

  • Plug Locks
  • Ball valve Lockout
  • Gate valve Lockout
  • Group Lockout Hasp
  • Electrical
  • Hydraulic, Pneumatic and other pressurized systems

What is OSHA 29 CFR 1910.147 Standard?

The OSHA standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout), Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1910.147, addresses the practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment, thereby preventing the release of hazardous energy while employees perform Servicing and Maintenance activities. The standard outlines measures for controlling hazardous energies - electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, and other energy sources.

Sections in OSHA 29 CFR 1910.147 Standard

  • 1910.147(a) - Scope, Application and Purpose
  • 1910.147(b) - Definitions Applicable to This Section
  • 1910.147(c) - General
  • 1910.147(d) - Application of Control
  • 1910.147 (e) - Release from lockout or Tagout.
  • 1910.147(f) - Additional requirements.

Items Not Applicable as per OSHA 29 CFR 1910.147 Standard:

  • Construction, agriculture and maritime employment
  • Installations under the exclusive control of electric utilities for the purpose of power generation, transmission and distribution, including related equipment for communication or metering
  • Exposure to electrical hazards from work on, near, or with conductors or equipment in electric utilization installations
  • Oil and gas well drilling and servicing.

Establishing a lockout/Tagout Program

As per OSHA 29 CFR 1910.147 requires companies to have a written Lockout/Tagout program. This document must contain:

  • A written energy control program that includes defined energy control procedures
  • Clear step-by-step procedures involved in shutting down the machine(s), installing locks,and tags and testing procedures to verify these procedures
  • Training for authorized personnel and anyone else who might directly or indirectly be involved or affected by this Lockout/Tagout procedure (including any outside contractors).
  • Certain equipment specifics
  • Information on periodic inspections of lockout/tagout procedures

Lockout/Tagout Requirements in Different Countries


OSHA regulation The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout / Tagout) 1910.147 states that it “requires employers to establish a program and utilise procedures for affixing appropriate lockout devices or Tagout devices to energy isolating devices and to otherwise disable machines or equipment to prevent unexpected energisation, start up or release of stored energy in order to prevent injury to employees.”


All Canadian jurisdictions legally require lockout for certain work. However, the specific activities required for appropriate Lockout are usually not specified in law. These specifics are provided through industry standards. The Canadian Standards Association's standard CSA Z460, based on industry, labour and government consultations, outlines the specific activities of a lockout program and is usually considered the appropriate standard of good practice for lockout.

UK :BS7671:2008:

In the UK the Provision of Work Equipment Regulations – Regulation 19 – Isolation from Sources of Energy states: “Every employer shall ensure, that where appropriate, work equipment is provided with suitable means to isolate it from all its sources of energy. Every employer shall take appropriate measures to ensure that reconnection of any energy source to work equipment does not expose any person using the equipment to any risk to his health or safety”.


The EU Guidelines 89/655 specify the minimum requirements concerning safety and health while using equipment. Paragraph 2.14 lays down that “every piece of equipment must be fitted with clearly visible devices with which it can be separated from every energy source. EN 1037 norm related to the equipment’s safety defines the measures regarding the energy isolation of machinery and the power dissipation to prevent hazardous equipment re-energising. It assures a safe and secure intervention with a risk-prone area.

European directive CEE 89/455 outlines the minimum regulations for the safety and protection of employees when servicing industrial equipment.


AschG – Arbeitnehmerlnnenschutzgesetz – Federal Act on Occupational Health and Safey

AM-VO-Arbeitsmittelverordnung (Ordinance on Work Equipment and Tools) – Regulation of the Federal Ministry of Commerce and Labour on protection of employees while using work equipment


UTE C18-510 (electrical applications): Lockout of apparatus for service and maintenance to lockout equipment is to carry out the necessary procedures to ensure that the equipment is placed and maintained in a safe position; to prevent its activation and label that the isolated equipment must not be operated. The employer must ensure that all safety procedures are strictly implemented and regularly reviewed by appropriate means. Employees must use all necessary tools to carry out maintenance.


The German legislation specifies this requirement in the “Minimum requirements for use of work equipment” (Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health). Work equipment controls must be secured against unintentional or unauthorized actuation. According to the “Minimum requirements for the improvement of the safety and health of workers using work equipment” (Ordinance on Industrial Safety and Health), medication, maintenance or repair operations can only be carried out when the work equipment is shut down. The work equipment and all its moving parts must be protected against accidental start and movement.


The Italian legislation (Direttiva 2001/45/CE del Parlamento eurepo e del Consiglio del 27 giugno 2001 che modifica la direttiva 89/655/CEE) concers the minimum safety and health requirements for the use of work equipment by workers at work.


UVG – Federal Law on Accident Insurance

VUV – Regulation on the Prevention of Accidents and Occupational Diseases

Title 1, chapter 2, Paragraph 1, art. 3; title 1, chapter 3, paragraph 2, art 30, 31

Paragraph 3, art. 37; paragraph 4, art. 43

EKAS Guideline no. 6512 – Work Equipment

These regulations clearly stipulate that during maintenance, adjusting or cleaning of the equipment, it has to be in non-operative state and appropriate devices have to be used to ensure that this is the case.


The Spanish directive states the minimum safety and health for workers use of work equipment.


The Factories Act

It regulates health, safety, welfare and other working conditions of workers in factories.

It is enforced by the State Governments through their factory inspectorates. The Directorate General Factory Advice Service & Labour Institutes (DGFASLI) co-ordinates matters concerning safety, health and welfare of workers in the factories with the State Governments.

Occupational Health and Safety demands adoption of a structured approach for the identification of hazards, their evaluation and control of risks in the organisation. Hence,Bureau of Indian Standards has formulated an Indian Standard on OH&S management systems. It is called as the ISO 18001:2000 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems. This standard prescribes the requirements for an OH&S Management Systems, to enable an organization to formulate a policy, taking into account the legislative requirements. It also provides information about significant hazards and risks, which the organization can control in order to protect its employees and others, whose health and safety may be affected by the activities of the organization.