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OSHA to Review Lockout/Tagout Standard

June 4, 2019
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced that it is requesting information on a possible update to the Control of Hazardous Energy Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) standard. The agency is interested in comments on the use of control circuit-type devices to isolate energy, as well as the evolving technology for robotics.
According to the release from OSHA, the agency is interested how employers have been using:
  • control circuit devices, including information about the types of circuitry and safety procedures being used;
  • limitations of their use, to determine under what other conditions control circuit-type devices could be used safely; 
  • new risks of worker exposure to hazardous energy as a result of increased interaction with robots; and 
  • whether the agency should consider changes to the LOTO standard that would address these new risks.
The current LOTO standard, published in 1989, requires that all sources of energy be controlled during servicing and maintenance of equipment using an energy-isolating device. The standard specifies that control circuit devices may not be used as energy-isolating devices, but the agency recognizes recent technological advances may have improved the safety of control circuit-type devices.
Comments must be submitted on or before August 18, 2019. Comments and materials may be submitted electronically at the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal, or by facsimile or mail. See the Federal Register notice for submission details.
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