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Course 710 - Energy Control Program (Lockout/Tagout)

Safety guides and audits to make your job as a safety professional easier

Training and Communication

Employee Training and Communication

The employer is required to provide effective training for all employees covered by the lockout/tagout standard and ensure that all employees understand the basic program concepts, including the purpose, function, and restrictions of the energy control program, and how to control those hazards.

Authorized employees must possess the knowledge and skills necessary for the safe application, use, and removal of energy controls. This training also must make employees aware that disregarding or violating the energy control program could endanger their own lives or the lives of co-workers.

The Importance of Training

It is important to train employees so they understand the purpose and function of the energy control program and get the knowledge and skills necessary to safely apply, use and remove the energy controls. The LOTO standard requires different levels of training for the three categories of workers: authorized, affected, and other employees.

Real Life Event

A recent news report shows the importance of lockout/tagout training within a company.

Man Survives Going Through Wood Chipper

An employee at a wood chip company in Washington State, USA went through a wood chipper and survives. According to a recent television news story, Frank Arce works at a company that shreds up bark into wood chips.

In January 2014, something got stuck inside the machine and Arce went into the wood chipper to get the object. He thought everything was turned off. However, a fellow employee turned on the machine while Arce was inside.

Arce spent some time in the hospital with a broken pelvis, shattered ankle, bruised liver, broken leg and a cut that runs the length of his body on the backside. The cut was so deep, it crushed his knee. He said he received the right care quickly because of the training and help from his co-workers at the Swanson Bark and Wood Products Company in Longview, Washington. The company paid 100% of Arce's medical bills.

The Washington State Bureau of Labor and Industries investigated the accident.

Source: KATU-TV, Portland, Oregon, January 2014.

Who Gets Trained

There are three categories of employees which must receive training: authorized, affected, and other.

The amount and type of training that each employee receives is based upon the relationship of that employee's job to the machine or equipment being locked or tagged out and upon the degree of knowledge relevant to hazardous energy that the employee must possess.

In addition, employers are required to certify that effective training and retraining has been provided to all employees covered by the standard. The certification must contain each employee's name and dates of training.

1. Authorized employees

Authorized employees lock out or tag out equipment and service or maintain the equipment. Required training for authorized employees includes:

  • how to find and recognize hazardous energy sources;
  • the types and magnitudes of energy used in the workplace; and
  • how to isolate energy sources.

2. Affected employees

Affected employees operate equipment serviced under lockout or tagout procedures or work in an area affected by the procedures. An affected employee becomes an authorized employee when the employee performs service or maintenance work on the equipment. Required training for affected employees includes:

  • the purpose of energy-control procedures;
  • how energy-control procedures are applied; and
  • how energy-control procedures will protect them.

3. Other employees

Other employees work around or otherwise might be in the vicinity of equipment that is under lockout/tagout. They need to receive awareness-level training regarding the Energy Control Program. They need to understand that if they see LOTO devices, they are not to touch them.

Tagout Training

Employers must train workers in the following limitations of tags listed below:

  • Tags are essentially warning devices attached to energy isolating devices and do not provide the physical restraint on those devices that is provided by a lock.
  • When a tag is attached to an energy isolating means, it is not to be removed without authorization and it is never to be bypassed, ignored, or otherwise defeated.
  • Tags must be legible and understandable by all workers.
  • Tags and their means of attachment must be made of materials which will withstand the environmental conditions encountered in the workplace.
  • Tags may evoke a false sense of security and their meaning needs to be understood as part of the overall energy control program.
  • Tags must be securely attached to energy isolating devices so that they cannot be inadvertently or accidentally detached during use.

LOTO Retraining

Annual retraining of authorized and affected employees is not required by OSHA. However, if authorized employees use LOTO procedures only rarely, it's a good idea to practice the procedures at least annually.

There are many reasons to retrain employees:

  • To introduce new or revised control methods and procedures as necessary.
  • To re-establish employee proficiency.

One of the most basic safety training rules is that employers should ensure retraining whenever conditions change that could introduce a new hazard in the workplace. Authorized and affected employees must be retrained whenever:

  • their job assignments change;
  • energy-control procedures change;
  • equipment or work processes present new hazards;
  • periodic inspections reveal that there are deviations in the energy control procedure; or
  • the employer believes there are deviations from, or inadequacies in, the employee's knowledge or use of the energy control procedures.

Documenting the Training

Employer must certify that training or retraining took place and that the employee is kept up to date. However, if your training program aspires to conform to ANSI Z490.1, Criteria for Accepted Practices in Safety, Health, and Environmental Training, you will need to certify that each employee has demonstrated proficiency in the learning environment immediately after training. After training, a competent person should certify the employee has successfully applied what they have learned in the workplace.

Certificate Information

To meet basic Federal OSHA requirements, certification need only contain the information listed below:

  • Each employee's name.
  • The dates of training and/or retraining.

However, the employer should also include a written statement of proficiency as well as the employee's identification number or a unique certificate number for training. Certification should also contain the signature of the trainer who conducted the training.

Make sure authorized employees are certified by the trainer as initially qualified to perform LOTO. After training is completed and authorized employees are certified as initially qualified, a competent person should evaluate the authorized employees on the job and certify them as fully qualified to perform LOTO.

Look at the sample safety training certification in Course 721, Module 5.4 that you can use to document your training. Download PDF version.

Maintaining LOTO Training Records

As with most OSHA programs, the employer must document the training. Don't make recordkeeping too complicated, but make sure training and certifications are formally documented in writing.

Documentation should be specific to each unique LOTO procedure. Keep current training records for each authorized and affected employee.

LOTO Safety Procedures


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. Authorized employees must possess the knowledge and skills necessary for _____.

2. What are the three categories of employees who must be trained in the lockout/tagout program and procedures?

3. Which category of employee must know how to find and recognize hazardous energy sources, the types and magnitudes of energy used, and isolate energy sources?

4. Authorized and affected employee retraining is required by OSHA in each of the following situations, EXCEPT _____.

5. After authorized employees are certified as initially qualified, a competent person should evaluate on the job and _____.

Have a great day!

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