OSHA Requests Info on Lockout/Tagout Standard

The Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) is asking employers about the possibility of updating the Control of Hazardous Energy standard, better known as Lockout/Tagout (LOTO). The administration is seeking comments and criticisms on the use of control circuit-type devices to isolate energy as well as the evolving technology of robotics.

Some of the information requested is as follows:

  • Types of circuit control devices, circuitry and safety procedures in use
  • Limitations of these devices, circuitry and required safety procedures
  • Determination of other conditions control circuit devices may be safely used
  • New risks of exposure to hazardous energy as a result of employee interaction with robots
  • Whether the agency should consider changes to the LOTO standard to address these risks

The current LOTO standard was published in 1989 and requires that all sources of energy be controlled during the service and maintenance of machines and equipment using energy-isolating devices. The standard currently specifies that control circuit devices cannot be used as energy-isolating devices, but the administration recognizes that recent technological breakthroughs may have improved the safety of control circuit devices.

Comments on the standard must by submitted on or before August 18, 2019 and may be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov, which is the Federal E-Rulemaking Portal. Submissions may also be made by fax or mail. For further information, please refer to this Federal Register notice.