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Course 710 - Energy Control Program (Lockout/Tagout)

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Purpose, Scope, and Application

Energy Control Program (ECP) Purpose

Information about the Energy Control Program (ECP) is contained in 29 CFR 1910.147, Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout).

The purpose of the ECP is to provide written policies and rules within your safety management system that help prevent injury to workers due to the unexpected startup of machines and equipment, or release of stored energy.

Check out this short audio clip by Dan Clark of the that gives a good introduction about the importance performing lockout/tagout at work.

Scope of Lockout/Tagout Rule

Employers must establish an Energy Control Program (ECP), consisting of three core components: energy control procedures; employee training; and periodic inspections to ensure that before service and maintenance is performed, machines and equipment that could unexpectedly startup, become energized, or release stored energy, are isolated from their energy source(s) and rendered safe.

  1. Energy control procedures detail and document the specific information that an authorized employee must know to accomplish lockout/tagout, i.e., the scope, purpose, authorization rules and techniques to be utilized for the control of hazardous energy.

  2. Periodic inspections of the energy control procedures ensure that the procedures are effective and the requirements of the standard are being followed.

  3. Employee training and retraining, along with additional training under a tagout system, ensure that the purpose and function of the energy control programs are understood by the authorized, affected and other employees.

What is lockout/tagout?

"Lockout/tagout" (LOTO) refers to specific practices and procedures to safeguard employees from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment, or the release of hazardous energy during service or maintenance activities.

The standard requires, in part, that a designated individual turns off and disconnects the machinery or equipment from its energy source(s) before performing service or maintenance. It also requires that an authorized employee(s) either lock or tag the energy-isolating device(s) to prevent the release of hazardous energy and take steps to verify that the energy has been isolated effectively.

If the potential exists for the release of hazardous stored energy or for the reaccumulation of stored energy to a hazardous level, the employer must ensure that the employee(s) take steps to prevent injury that may result from the release of the stored energy.

Lockout Devices

Lockout devices, typically locks, hold energy-isolation devices in a safe or "off" position.

They provide protection by preventing machines or equipment from becoming energized because they are positive restraints that no one can remove without a key or other unlocking mechanism, or through extraordinary means, such as bolt cutters.

Tagout devices, by contrast, are prominent warning devices that an authorized employee fastens to energy-isolating devices to warn employees not to re-energize the machine while he or she services or maintains it.

Tagout devices are easier to remove and, by themselves, provide employees with less protection than do lockout devices.


Performing LOTO Procedures

Whenever your employees perform servicing and/or maintenance on machines or equipment, they can be exposed to the unexpected energization, startup, or release of hazardous energy. Hazardous energy sources include electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other forms of harmful energy.

Servicing or Maintenance

Servicing or maintenance refers to constructing, installing, setting up, adjusting, inspecting, modifying, maintaining and/or servicing machines or equipment, including lubrication, cleaning or unjamming of machines or equipment, and making adjustments or tool changes, where workers could be exposed to the unexpected energization or startup of the equipment or release of hazardous energy.

What's "Unexpected"?

The term "unexpected" also covers situations in which the servicing and/or maintenance is performed during ongoing normal production operations if:

  • A worker is required to remove or bypass machine guards or other safety devices; or
  • A worker is required to place any part of his or her body into a point of operation or into an area on a machine or piece of equipment where work is performed, or into the danger zone associated with the machine's operation.

Forms of Energy - Electricity is not the only hazard!

  • Potential Energy: Stored energy that can be drawn upon to do work. Suspended loads, compressed springs, and pressurized hydraulic systems are examples. Potential energy can be converted to kinetic energy and many of the other energy forms described below.

  • Kinetic Energy: Energy resulting from moving objects such as released loads and uncoiling springs. When these objects are released, their potential energy is converted to kinetic energy.

  • loto1
    Electricity is not the only hazard!
    (Click to enlarge)
  • Flammable/Explosive Energy: Energy converted from the combustion of gases, liquids, solid chemicals, and vapors.

  • Chemical Energy: The capacity of a substance to do work or produce heat through a change in its composition. Chemical energy can be converted from gases, liquids, solid chemicals, and vapors.

  • Electrical Energy: Energy generated through the conversion of other forms such as mechanical, thermal, or chemical energy. Energy stored between plates of a charged capacitor is an example of potential electrical energy. Typical electrical energy sources include open busbars, motors, and generators.

  • Thermal Energy: Energy transferred from one body to another as the result of a difference in temperature. Heat flows from the hotter to the cooler body. Sources include mechanical work, radiation, chemical reactions, and electrical resistance.

Lockout/Tagout Safe Shutdown


Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. The purpose of Lockout/Tagout to prevent injury due to the _____ startup of machines and equipment or the release of stored energy.

2. Which of the following is not one of the three components of an Energy Control Program (ECP)?

3. Which of the following is not considered as a form of energy addressed in the Energy Control Program?

4. Remember, hazardous energy is _____ those who need to service or maintain powered equipment.

5. Which of the following is an example of "servicing or maintenance"?

Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.