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Lock-out/tag-out standard update appears on OSHA radar

Sources: U.S. Department of Labor; CP staff

The Trump Administration’s first regulatory agenda, released late last month and projecting key Labor and Transportation Department plus Environmental Protection Agency actions, calls for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue a formal Request for Information (RFI) on new technologies conflicting with the current lock-out/tag-out standard.

Recent advancements that employ computer-based controls of hazardous energy (e.g., mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, chemical, radiation) have become more prevalent as manufacturers modernize plant equipment designs, yet conflict with existing lock-out/tag-out protocol. OSHA officials also cite international standards harmonization concerns as computer-based hazardous energy controls are more accepted in other countries than the U.S. An April 2018 RFI will help agency officials understand the strengths and limitations of computer-based controls tied to equipment lock-out/tag-out standard procedures, along with potential hazards to workers. Alternatively, the agency may hold a stakeholder meeting and open a public docket to explore the issue.