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Always Essential: Lockout/Tagout Programs

The construction industry does not have a dedicated lockout/tagout (LOTO) OSHA standard, but lockout/tagout best practices are still an important part of protecting LIUNA members from hazardous energy sources. Following proper LOTO procedures helps keep workers safe and projects on schedule.

Construction employers should follow OSHA’s Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout) standard for general industry. They can obtain additional guidance by following the voluntary, consensus best practices in the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) A10.44 standard.

What Is Lockout/Tagout?

Lockout/tagout is a set of procedures to ensure the hazardous energy sources that activate a piece of machinery are shut off during servicing and unable to be restarted until the work is completed. These include the placement of a locking device that makes the machine inoperable, a label or tag explaining why this is needed and the name of the authorized person who attached it. This person is the only one allowed to remove the lock and the tag.

Hazardous energy sources in construction include:

  • Electrical: AC/DC, generator, battery
  • Mechanical: Coiled springs, raised loads, moving parts
  • Pneumatic: Pressurized gas, compressed air
  • Hydraulic: Water, oil, liquids

When Is Lockout/Tagout Needed?

Weather and everyday wear and tear take a heavy toll on construction equipment. Routine maintenance can minimize costly repair delays caused by corrosion, misalignment and leaking lubricant. It can also reduce the risk for worker injury when equipment hasn’t been serviced and isn’t working properly. LOTO helps ensure that when workers are doing this essential servicing, they will not be injured when someone who doesn’t see them inadvertently flicks a switch or pushes a button.

What Measures Ensure an Effective Lockout/Tagout Program?

  • Identify and label all sources of hazardous energy at the construction site and schedule periodic reviews
  • Train employees on how to operate equipment requiring hazardous energy
  • Schedule regular maintenance of this equipment
  • Have a written procedure for how to shut down and restart equipment
  • Train all employees on LOTO procedures and requirements
  • Designate and train an authorized employee to install and remove lockout devices

For more information on proper LOTO procedures, order the LHSFNA’s Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) Health Alert by going to the Fund’s website and clicking on Publications. For assistance with your site’s safety and health program, call the LHSFNA’s Occupational Safety and Health Division at 202-628-5465.

[Janet Lubman Rathner]

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