Each year, more than 50,000 employees are injured and about 120 are killed when equipment being serviced or maintained unexpectedly starts up or energizes. Establishing procedures and training employees to follow OSHA’s “Control of Hazardous Energy” Standard, more commonly known as the Lockout Tagout (LOTO), helps to prevent these incidents.

Year after year, LOTO compliance is listed as one of OSHA’s top ten most-cited violations, not because procedures aren’t in place but because people deviate from those procedures over time.

Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) protects employees from machines and equipment capable of causing injury due to unexpected energization, release of stored energy, or start-up while an employee is performing maintenance and installing/servicing equipment. An example of this would be an electrician installing a new electrical panel. For this, they would need to lock out the breaker in the OFF position to ensure there is no electricity running through the panel while they work, eliminating any electrocution hazards.

All power sources should be disconnected and/ or locked in the off position. Each person involved in the work locks out the power with their own personal lock and key so they have control of the energy source. They place a tag on the lock to warn others and to identify who is responsible. Before beginning work, you test the energy source to ensure it is indeed turned off. No one else can ever remove another person’s lock, therefore no one can accidently turn on the equipment or energy source.