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Course 710 - Energy Control Program (Lockout/Tagout)

Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Release from Lockout/Tagout

Basic Steps for Release from Lockout/Tagout

LOTO follows an equipment-specific procedure.

OSHA's Lockout/Tagout standard includes requirements for releasing machines or equipment that have been locked out or tagged out prior to restoring energy to the equipment and using it.

Before lockout or tagout devices are removed and energy is restored, there are some procedures the authorized employee must follow:

  1. The work area must first be inspected to ensure that nonessential items (e.g., tools, spare parts) have been removed and that all of the machine or equipment components are operationally intact.
  2. The work area must then be checked to ensure all workers have been safety positioned or have cleared the area. In addition, all affected workers must be notified that the lockout or tagout devices have been removed before the equipment is started.
  3. Each lockout or tagout device must be removed from the energy-isolating device by the employee who applied the device.

1. Before lockout or tagout devices are removed and energy restored, what must the authorized employee do first?

a. Clear the area of all essential workers
b. Inspect and clear the area of non-essential items
c. Remove warning signs
d. Install energy-isolating devices

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Absence of the Authorized Employee

Make sure you try to contact the authorized employee who performed LOTO.

If the authorized employee who affixed lockout/tagout devices is not present, you can authorize another employee to remove the device if that employee is properly trained and follows a documented energy control procedure. The procedure must ensure that the original authorized employee is not available to remove the device, that someone has tried to contact and inform the authorized employee that another employee has removed the device, and that the authorized employee knows the device has been removed before returning to work. To ensure safe startup, the equipment should also be inspected and affected employees notified.

Here's what must be done if a worker who didn't apply the lockout/tagout device actually removes the device. The person in charge must accomplish three actions listed below:

  1. Verify that the authorized employee who applied the device is not at the facility.
  2. Make all reasonable efforts to contact the authorized employee to inform him/her that his/her lockout or tagout device has been removed.
  3. Ensure that the authorized employee knows that the lockout device has been removed before he/she resumes work at the facility.

Best Practice: Some companies have developed a "Lock Removal Form" and require it to be completed before a lock is removed by another authorized employee. This form identifies the lock owner and equipment, how the owner was contacted, the reason it was left on, confirmation the job was complete, why the lock is being removed, and actions taken to ensure safe startup. The form is signed by a supervisor and kept on file for annual review.

2. Which of the following is NOT a condition that must be met if another authorized employee actually removes the device?

a. The other authorized employee must show his or her authorization card
b. Verification that the authorized employee who applied the LOTO device is not present
c. Try to inform the authorized employee that the LOTO device has been removed
d. Ensure the authorized employee knows the LOTO device has been removed

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Testing Machinery or Equipment

Full release and entry back into lockout/tagout is required when testing.

In some circumstances, workers need to temporarily restore energy to a machine or piece of equipment during servicing or maintenance to test and /or reposition the machine or piece of equipment.

Written energy control procedures will address the temporary removal of lockout or tagout devices. Temporary removal is allowed when re-energizing equipment is necessary, for example, when power is needed to test or position the equipment. This applies only for the limited time required to perform the task and the procedure must be documented.

Although lockout/tagout devices may be removed temporarily to perform testing, it is important to know that you may not use an abbreviated procedure during the release - test - restore sequence. You must use full lockout/tagout procedures anytime you release from lockout/tagout or restore equipment after testing and positioning.

3. Which type of modification may be made to lockout/tagout entry or release procedures for testing purposes?

a. Temporary removal of one energy-isolation device may be made for testing
b. None - full lockout/tagout procedures must be used for testing
c. An abbreviated entry and release from the lockout/tagout condition may be made
d. OSHA does not have a position with regard to testing during lockout/tagout

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Temporary Removal Procedures

Be sure to follow LOTO procedures for temporary testing.

Below is the sequence of action that must occur in the temporary removal of the lockout/tagout devices:

  1. The machine or equipment must be cleared of tools and materials.
  2. Workers must be removed from the machine or equipment area.
  3. All lockout or tagout devices may then be removed.
  4. Authorized workers may then proceed to energize and test or position the equipment or machinery.
  5. Following testing or positioning, all systems must be de-energized and energy control measures reapplied to continue the servicing and /or maintenance.

4. During lockout/tagout, which of the following actions should NOT occur before authorized workers proceed to energize and test or position equipment or machinery?

a. Clear tools and materials from the machine or equipment
b. Remove workers from the machine or equipment area
c. De-energize and reapply energy control measures
d. Remove lockout or tagout devices

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Release after Long-Term Shutdown

What can happen if release from long-term LOTO does not include making sure equipment is operating correctly.

You should have an additional energy-control procedure to protect workers if they must restart equipment after long-term shutdowns. Make sure you do the following:

  • Determine who will be responsible for monitoring any lockout and tagout devices that control energy to the equipment.
  • Include steps in the procedure for protecting workers if they need to remove or change parts while the equipment is shut down.
  • Do not restart equipment until you are absolutely certain that it is working properly.

5. If there has been a long-term shutdown of equipment or machinery, what action should you take prior to startup?

a. Be absolutely certain the equipment is working properly
b. Get permission from the safety officer to perform startup
c. Determine the date and time shutdown occurred
d. Coordinate startup activities with the safety department

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FAQ on LOTO Video - HSEBox

In this video, HSE Box presents 10 questions and answers regarding Lockout/Tagout (LOTO).

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