What to Cover in Writing
You'll need to develop detailed procedures to control hazardous energy
during servicing and maintenance of equipment. Then you'll have to put
these procedures in writing. The standard requires you to clearly outline
the scope, purpose, authorization, rules, techniques to be used, and means
of enforcing compliance. It also requires you to address the following
- A specific statement of purpose, or use of the procedure
- Specific steps for shutting down, isolating, blocking and securing
machines and equipment to control hazardous energy
- Specific steps for the placement, removal, and transfer of lockout or
tagout devices and the responsibility for them
- Specific requirements for testing machines or equipment to verify the
effectiveness of lockout and tagout devices and other energy control
Safe Shutdown Procedures
Depending on your situation you may have one generalized procedure for
all your machinery, or individual procedures for different types of
No matter which type of procedure you're writing, OSHA requires you to
cover the same basic steps, and to put them in the following order:
- Notify affected employees that lockout/tagout (LOTO) is about
to occur on a specific piece of machinery or equipment. Prepare for
shutdown by reviewing details or the energy source, hazards, and specific
- Shut down the machine or equipment using normal stopping or
rundown procedures for that machine
- Isolate the equipment from the energy source. Bear in mind that
there may be more than one energy source. These may include electricity,
hydraulic pressure, pressurized steam, residual mechanical energy,
compressed gas lines, charged chemical lines, and chemical drain lines,
among others. Isolating the equipment from its energy source may involve
turning off such items as the operating control, a line valve, or an
electrical circuit breaker.
- Apply the lockout/tagout devices to the energy-isolating
devices. For example, a padlock can be placed through holes so that
switch handles are locked in the "off" position and can't be moved.
- Release any potentially hazardous stored or residual energy.
What employees do here depends on the type of energy and how it's stored.
It may mean returning springs to a normal position, or bleeding down, or
blocking hydraulic systems. Remember, the machine must be in a zero
energy state. If there is any chance that stored energy may reaccumulate,
verification of isolation must be continued until the servicing or
maintenance is completed.
- Verify that energy control measures are effective before
starting servicing or maintenance. For example, turn switches or start
buttons to the "on" position to ensure the power is actually isolated.
Then return them to the "off" position.
Safe Start-up Procedures
Before LOTO devices are removed and energy is restored to the machine or
equipment, certain steps are required by the standard:
- The work area must be inspected to ensure that nonessential items,
such as tools and materials, have been put away and that equipment
components are operationally intact.
- All affected employees must be notified that equipment will be
restarted, and they must be safely positioned out of harm's way during
- LOTO devices must be removed only by the authorization employee who
- Affected employees must be informed that LOTO devices have been removed.
- Equipment must be tested to ensure safe operation.
Finally, you must certify that the required periodic inspections have
been performed. The certification must identify the machine or equipment
on which the energy control procedure was used, the date of the
inspection, the employees included in the inspection, and the name of the
person performing the inspection.
Lockout/Tagout Management Checklist