Hazardous Energy Control (Lock out/Tag out) Policy

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    The purpose of this policy is prevent the injury or death of University staff, faculty, students and visitors by providing a set of minimum requirements designed to prevent the unexpected release of stored energy during the servicing or maintenance of machines or systems.


    Lockout/Tagout procedures and the requirement to de-energize machines and systems apply to a variety of energy types including electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical, gravitational, thermal, chemical, fluids and gases, pressurized water and steam.

    Only authorized individuals are permitted to isolate hazardous energy in machines or systems.

    Lockout of energy isolation devices must be done using individually assigned locks. Tags may only be used with the written permission of EH&S when there is no feasible way to apply a lock to the machine or system. If tags alone are used, a specific procedure must be in place that includes taking an additional energy disabling step to de-energize the machine or system.

    Normal or routine servicing or maintenance is covered by this policy if an employee is required to remove or bypass a guard or other safety device or to place any part of their body into an area on a machine or piece of equipment where a danger exists during machine operation.

    This policy does not apply to the following:

    Work on cord and plug connected electric equipment for which exposure to the hazards of unexpected energization or start-up of the equipment is controlled by the unplugging of the equipment from the energy source and by the plug being under the exclusive control of the employee performing the serving or maintenance.

    Hot tap operations involving transmission and distribution systems for substances such as gas, steam, water or petroleum products when they are performed on pressurized pipelines, provided that it can be demonstrated that continuity of service is essential, shutdown of the system is impractical and that documented procedures are followed including the use of special equipment which provides proven protection for employees.


    By authority delegated from the University President, the Vice-President for Business Affairs is responsible for the safety of all University facilities. Under this authority, policies are developed to provide a safe teaching, research, service, housing and recreational environment.

    OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.147 and 29 CFR 1910.306 & .333


    Environmental Health and Safety Division (EH&S)
    EH&S is responsible for the development of this policy and for its periodic review and updating.

    EH&S shall assist other affected departments in complying with this policy by serving as a source of information for regulatory and safety information.

    EH&S will assist in the development of training programs related to this policy.

    EH&S has the authority to stop work when actions that are not in compliance with this policy are observed.

    University Divisions, Departments and Laboratory Principal Investigators
    It is the responsibility of University divisions, maintenance organizations and laboratory principal investigators to implement this policy through the development of the necessary written procedures, training of staff, purchase of equipment and modification of machines and systems where necessary.
    Supervisors are responsible for developing written lockout-tagout procedures for all equipment as necessary. A hazard assessment must be performed on all equipment prior to authorizing work to proceed.

    Supervisors must ensure that necessary locks, tags and other protective devices are available and properly used by staff. An up-to-date listing of energy control program devices shall be maintained and the distribution of devices shall be logged.

    Supervisors must ensure that authorized staff have received the required training and understand the requirements of this policy.

    Authorized Employees
    Authorized employees are personnel responsible for implementing any measures required for hazardous energy control.

    Authorized employees shall receive specialized training to understand the types, magnitude and hazards of energy presented by the equipment they are authorized to lock out.

    Affected Employees
    Affected employees have a job requiring that they either work on a machine that is locked out or in an area where related servicing or maintenance is being performed.

    Affected employees shall not attempt to start-up or energize equipment or systems that have been locked or tagged.

    Contractors are expected to follow all OSHA health and safety requirements including those covering the control of hazardous energy.

    Contractors must have a written hazardous energy control plan as it applies to the specific work being done for the University. The written plan must be available for review by EH&S if requested.


    The following minimum procedures must be followed during the application of lock out/tag out controls. Supervisors are required to customize these generic procedures by establishing specific, written energy isolation protocols applicable to the equipment or systems that they service.

    The authorized employee or supervisor must notify people affected by a shutdown that a loss of service will occur and provide the expected start and duration of the project and a description of all systems shutdown. Sufficient lead time should be provided to allow affected areas to prepare for shutdown.

    The subject equipment or system shall be shutdown using normal procedures. Following shutdown, the lockout or tagout devices are attached to each energy isolating device by the authorized employee.

    Once lockout or tagout has been completed, all potentially hazardous stored or residual energy must be relieved, disconnected, restrained and otherwise rendered safe.

    Prior to starting work on the subject equipment or systems, the authorized employee shall verify that isolation and de-energization has been completed successfully.

    Once work is complete and prior to removal of the lockout or tagout devices, the work area shall be inspected to ensure that nonessential items have been removed. The work area shall also be inspected to ensure that all employees have been safely positioned or removed.

    Following the removal of lockout and tagout devices, affected employees shall be notified that the equipment or system will be restarted.

    The lock out device and tag shall only be removed by the authorized employee that applied them.

    If the authorized employee is not available to remove a lock out device, removal may be done by the authorized employee’s supervisor but only after making all reasonable efforts to contact the authorized employee and after verifying that the equipment or system is safe.

    The authorized employee must be informed that their lock out device has been removed.

    When serving or maintenance is performed by more than one crew, trade or group, group lockout or tagout devices shall be used. Each authorized employee shall affix a personal lockout or tagout device to the group lockout device, lockbox or comparable mechanism when beginning work and shall remove the device when work is completed.


    All maintenance groups, laboratory principal investigators and other members of the University community subject to the requirements of this policy are required to receive training covering the requirements of this hazardous energy control policy.

    Supervisors are required to ensure that all authorized employees receive training. EH&S is available as a resource and to assist in training development but each supervisor is expected to provide site specific training to their employees.

    All authorized employees shall receive training in the recognition of applicable hazardous energy sources, the type and magnitude of the energy available in the workplace and the methods and means necessary for energy isolation and control.

    All affected employees shall be instructed in the purpose and use of the energy control procedures in their area.

    Retraining shall be required annually or more frequently if job assignments change, new equipment or systems are placed into service or if policy compliance issues are observed or reported.

    All training shall be documented in writing with the records maintained by the appropriate office.