Lockout/Tagout – 1910.147

Reviewing OSHA’s Lockout/Tagout – 1910.147 Standard

Lockout Before Servicing Tag

The lockout/tagout – 1910.147 regulations were put in place by OSHA to help reduce the number of accidents and injuries in the workplace. Many people were being hurt while working on heavy machinery, because they did not properly disengage the power source before entering hazardous areas.

Even though a machine may have been inactive at the time when people would enter to perform maintenance, for example, the machine could still engage due to a schedule or another employee thinking it was safe. The lockout/tagout system is a safety procedure which not only shuts down the machines, but makes it so they do not have access to the necessary power to reengage.

To put it simply, this procedure works when someone is getting ready to work on a machine, they will isolate the power source so that the machine can’t be turned on. They will then attach a tag (similar to these lockout tags) to the device so anyone who is in the area will know that they are not to reengage the system before the employee doing the maintenance removes their tag.

Locked Out

In addition to simply removing the power source and tagging the area, a true lockout means putting a cover, or other restriction, on the power source that has to be physically removed in order to be plugged back in. This cover will have a lock on it, which can only be unlocked by the person doing the maintenance inside the machine.

This essentially means that it is physically impossible to reconnect the power source without the individual who locked it out coming out of the machine first. This will obviously help to keep them, and everyone else in the area, much safer.  It eliminates the possibility of mistakes and misunderstandings by keeping the source of the power inaccessible.


One of the biggest reasons why the lockout/tagout 1910.147 set of standards works so well is that it puts the responsibility in the hands of the people who are at risk. When someone is going into a machine, they know that if they don’t properly remove the power source and lock it out, they will be the ones getting hurt.

Obviously people have a strong sense of self-preservation, and will be the most likely to make sure the procedures are followed correctly.

Multiple Maintenance Personal

One concern that many people have had with this system is that if two or more people are working on a machine, the power could be restored before they are all finished. If, for example five people are working on a particular machine, and four of them have finished, they mistakenly think that the last one is done to.

If they reengage the power, it could result in serious injury or even death. To solve this problem, locks with spots for multiple keys have been made. In some cases, it is a simple clamp that can be locked by multiple padlocks (which you can find in this kit). Each person who enters the machinery will put their own lock on the clamp, and hold their own key.

Until everyone who enters the machine removes their own lock, there is no way to turn the power back on. This helps everyone remain accountable and safe while performing this type of dangerous work.

Five Rules for Lockout/Tagout Safety

While the 1910.147 procedures are very detailed and will allow any facility to create a very effective system, the whole thing can really be broken down into five main components:

  1. Disconnect Completely – This means removing all sources of power so that there is no way the power could physically get to the machine.
  2. Prevent Re-Connection – Using a locking system that makes it impossible for the power source to be physically put back into the machine.
  3. Verify the System is off – Taking the time to manually confirm that there is no power going into the machine.
  4. Complete Short-Circuiting – Tripping circuits or removing fuses to help provide an additional line of protection against any sort of stored up energy.
  5. Protect against Nearby Live Machinery – Making sure another machine that has power can’t impact this one. For example, if a conveyer belt on another machine engages, could it cause something on this machine to move, even if this machine doesn’t have power.

These safety rules make it so even if two or three of the steps taken to keep everyone safe fail, the chances are quite high that nobody will be injured. This is important because of just how dangerous it can be to be inside many types of machines.

Isolating Hazardous Energy

Lockout Safety SignWhen using this set of procedures, it is important that the person who is working on the machine is able to easily isolate any hazardous energy source. Today, many machines have a primary power sources, as well as backups. The backup may be in the form of a battery, a generator or even just a secondary electrical outlet.

Whenever there are backup power sources, it is important to have them easily identified. In many cases, the primary source will have a sign on or near it that states that there is a secondary source, so that anyone working in the area is immediately aware.

Any employee that is working on the machine should take precautions to ensure they know that all power has been removed, and locked out. This will help to ensure that there is no way that the machine can engage accidentally.

Easy Adoption

While there are quite a few standards, and even a lot of steps that are required to stay in compliance with the lockout/tag out 1910.147 set of procedures, it is still surprisingly easy to adopt. For most types of machinery it will just take one or two plugs being removed, and a lock being put in place.

This only takes a few moments, and when the maintenance personal get used to it, it will become like second nature. While there are a lot of rules regarding how the system should be put in place, none of them are overly complex or difficult for anyone who is involved.

In addition, OSHA recommends providing employees with a training program to show everyone how to properly lockout and tag out while working on these machines.

Proper Training for Lockout/Tagout

This training system should not just show people how to disengage power and put a lock on it, but should also explain why it is so important. Many people underestimate just how dangerous machines can be. They may also question just how likely it can be to have a machine engage even when it wasn’t supposed to.

Taking the time to train all the employees, even those who don’t directly work inside of machines, about these hazards will help to encourage them to follow the established procedures. This will help to keep everyone safe, and keep the facility in compliance with the OSHA requirements.

Don’t Delay

If your facility doesn’t already have a system in place to stay in compliance with the lockout/tagout 1910.147 standards, take action today. OSHA offers a variety of different types of information that companies can use to help come up with how they can implement these systems.

In many cases, it is possible to develop a good lockout/tagout system for your facility, and have the training provided, in just a few days. So, don’t delay any longer, get your facility up to standard and help keep everyone in your facility nice and safe.

Creative Safety Supply is ready to enhance the safety of your facility, contact Creative Safety Supply at 1-866-777-1360 for all your safety needs.


Additional Resources