Workplace injuries and equipment damage often occur when machines are not fully powered down during service, maintenance, and repair. Lockout / tagout (LOTO) procedures help to minimize this risk by ensuring that energy controls are safely off when equipment is undergoing work. You can improve workplace safety by developing written LOTO programs and training employees accordingly.

Lockout is used during all service or maintenance when an employee must remove or bypass machine safeguards and expose their body parts to a danger zone. Lockout is not necessary during normal production operations when the machine is performing its intended function.


We recommend putting a written LOTO policy in place and incorporating the policy into your company’s safety training. Prior to performing service or maintenance work on any dangerous equipment, follow the steps below to shut off and lock all sources of energy to the machine.

  • Notify employees in the immediate area that service / maintenance work will be performed on a particular machine or equipment
  • Identify all energy control points and necessary equipment for lockout
  • Conduct an orderly shutdown of equipment
  • Deactivate energy control device(s) from energy source(s)
  • Lockout all the energy control devices with a padlock
  • Dissipate or restrain stored energy through blocking, bleeding, grounding, etc.
  • Verify isolation from energy by attempting to start / operate the machine
  • Return all energy controls and/or buttons to neutral / off position

OSHA is requesting information on types of circuitry and safety procedures being used and the limitations of those uses in order to determine other conditions in which control circuit-type devices could be used safely. OSHA is also looking for more information about evolving technology for robotics including:

  • Hazards and benefits with respect to the control of hazardous energy
  • Safeguards that can be used
  • Increased efficiencies
  • Any other information related to ensuring employee safety while working with robots

Comments are due Aug. 18 and can be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov.

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