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Electrical Safety with Lockout/Tagout

Protect your workers from electrical hazards with proper lockout/tagout practices. Led by Compliance Specialist Brian McFadden, this webinar covers the complex hazards of electrical work, a Hierarchy of Controls to address those hazards, and practical advice on electrical safety with an effective LO/TO program and alternative procedures for hot work.

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Last presented on: 05 22, 2019

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Contents of the Electrical Safety with Lockout/Tagout Webinar:


An excerpt from the Electrical Safety with Lockout/Tagout Webinar transcript:

Lockout/Tagout for Safe Electrical Work

Today, we’re focusing on Administrative Controls, and the most important administrative control for electrical safety is lockout/tagout. The core idea of lockout/tagout is turning off equipment, disconnecting its power supply, and locking the power supply in a disconnected state — so it can’t be re-connected until work is done. To be effective, lockout/tagout needs to be managed as its own, dedicated safety program

There are four basic steps to managing an effective lockout/tagout program:

  1. Create a step-by-step procedure for each piece of equipment,
  2. Train your workers to understand those procedures,
  3. Provide the tools to get the job done,
  4. And follow up with routine check-ups and revisions.

Creating LO/TO Procedures

Start by creating step-by-step instructions — that is, procedures — for how lockout/tagout will be applied for each piece of equipment in your facility. Each piece of equipment may need its own specialized procedure, to account for differences in equipment, location, and use.

The NFPA’s example lockout/tagout program (in Informative Annex G of the 70E standard) gives some recommendations here. A typical procedure might have the following steps:

  1. Inform all affected employees that equipment is being shut down, and why.
  2. Identify all sources of electrical power to the equipment.
  3. Shut down the equipment using appropriate steps.
  4. Disconnect each energy source.
  5. Relieve any stored energy appropriately (by grounding, attempting to start the equipment, or other means).
  6. Apply locks and tags to all disconnecting devices to prevent reconnection.
  7. Check that lockout/tagout equipment is properly applied and secure.
  8. Use an appropriate testing tool to verify that the equipment is de-energized, and then verify that the tool is functioning correctly by testing a known voltage source.
  9. Where necessary, install a grounding device to eliminate the risk of induced or other stored voltage.
  10. Perform the necessary work.
  11. When work is completed, confirm that all tools, parts, and workers are clear.
  12. Remove the locks and tags from the disconnecting devices, and, if appropriate, reconnect the power sources.
  13. Inform affected employees that normal operation can resume.

    At each step, it should be clear who is responsible for each task, and how that task should be performed.

    LO/TO Training

    Once the plan has been made, the people who will follow that plan need to understand it. Training is key. But not all workers will need the same training.

    Under the NFPA 70E approach to safety, the core requirement for electrical safety training is this: electrical work should only be performed by a qualified person.

    This has confused people in the past; what makes someone a “qualified person,” anyway? In short, a qualified person is one who has the training, knowledge, and skills to:

    • perform the given task,
    • understand and work with the given equipment, and
    • identify and respond appropriately to the hazards involved.

    It’s not a certification or a license; identifying a person as qualified for a given task is simply asking whether that person is prepared to do that task effectively and safely. Someone who is not prepared that way is considered an unqualified person.

    Because the “qualified” criteria are based on the task at hand, a person could be qualified for one job but not another, or qualified to work on one piece of equipment, but not another. General training is a good start, but detailed and task-specific training may be needed before work can begin.

    When it comes to lockout/tagout training, a slightly different approach is used. Here, OSHA’s regulations describe three categories:

    • Authorized employees are those who will perform the work requiring lockout/tagout.
    • Affected employees are those whose work will be affected when equipment is locked or tagged out.
    • Other employees are generally unaffected by the actual practice of lockout/tagout.

    Keep records of your training, including who was trained, at what level, and when. Don’t hesitate to provide retraining whenever your process or equipment changes, an employee is reassigned, or your periodic reviews show a problem. Retraining is far less expensive than an injury; according to an OSHA fact sheet , “workers injured on the job from exposure to hazardous energy lose an average of 24 workdays for recuperation.”

    To learn the Hierarchy of Controls to address electrical hazards, and practical advice on safety with an effective lockout tagout program, watch the full webinar on demand now!

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Electrical Safety with Lockout/Tagout Webinar