The Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced the Top 10 Most Cited Violations list for 2016 and once again, Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) was ranked fifth. The OSHA standard for the Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout), Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1910.147, addresses the practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment, thereby preventing the release of hazardous energy while employees perform servicing and maintenance activities.
The current OSHA standard became law in 1989 and was heavily influenced by ANSI Z244.1 (originally published in 1982). In the 25 years since OSHA adopted the standard, much has changed in General Industry – from technology to the very way we work. To that end, ANSI created the Z244 Committee (the Committee) to continually reaffirm and/or revise the standard every five years to keep it relevant as technology and the nature of work changes. The heightened self-reporting requirements have brought more of these violations to OSHA’s attention; unfortunately, some employers still don’t recognize these types of accidents leaving many workers vulnerable and unsafe.
In response to the continuing trend and rise in LOTO violations, the Z244 Committee (the Committee) have made a series of updates to the ANSI/ASSE Z244.1 (2003) standard that aim to reverse the trend while expanding the language of the standard to allow for scalability between large and small business needs. In its 2016 revision, the Committee made deliberate efforts to not make major changes in the standard’s recommended practices but instead focus on creating a plain-language approach that describes proven energy control practices that can be adopted by a wide range of industries. The 2016 revision focuses on these four sections of the existing standard:
- Section 5 – Design of Machinery
- Section 6 – Hazardous Energy Control Program
- Section 7 – Control of Hazardous Energy
- Section 8 – Alternative Methods
The changes to these sections were made to expand adoption from machinery builders and end-users as a guide for deploying technological safeguards as well as bid specifications (Section 5); the expansion of recommendations for managing change for new and modified equipment, methods for timely updating, and document control (Section 6); improved hazardous energy control procedures as well as guidance for working with contractors (Section 7); and a major revision to Alternative Methods standards (Section 8) which more clearly defines where alternative methods of Lockout/Tagout can be implemented (spoiler: when in doubt, you’ll be defaulting to Lockout as the preferred way to keep workers safe).
The Committee’s 2016 revision does not take away from the original intent of the Z244.1 and OSHA standards – to protect workers from injury due to unexpected equipment startup or the release of potential energy. By going beyond the baseline requirements of OSHA 29 CFR 1910-147, the ANSI/ASSE Z244.1 (2016) standard revision promotes safety procedures that are clearer in language and can be adopted by a wide-range of industries; ultimately keeping more workers safe from harm. You can read the full details of the standard revision below.
Via OH&S Online