OSHA Exploring Possible Update to Lockout/Tagout Standard



The lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedure has been one of the critical elements of electrical safety training on construction sites for a decade.  Generally, it’s pretty simple: if you need to work on an energized circuit or piece of equipment, shut down the breaker, put a lock on it so no one can turn it back on, and place a tag on it with your information. OSHA is considering updating the standard now and is currently requesting information from interested parties.

The current LOTO standards were published in 1989, but after 30 years, OSHA believes that some of their requirements could now be considered outdated. According to the press release, which was published late last week, the agency is specifically looking for information regarding the use of control circuit-type devices to isolate energy and new risks for workers that have an increased interaction with robots.

Per the current active standard, control circuit-type devices are not permitted to be used as energy-isolating devices, but OSHA believes that technological advances could have made those devices much more acceptable in recent years.

In respect to the robot inquiry, OSHA is looking to find out more about the hazards or benefits that robotics provides to the workplace with respect to hazardous energy. They’re interested in any new risks, safeguards, increased efficiencies, and any related information to ensuring safety around robotics.

If you are interested in providing comments to the OSHA inquiry, they must be made by August 18, 2019.  Comments can be filed electronically through https://www.regulations.gov/ or by fax or mail. For more information, you can check out the full Federal Register notice here.