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OSHA requests your input on possible changes to lockout/tagout rules


August 11, 2019

By A.J. Plunkett (aplunkett@decisionhealth.com)

Ever been frustrated about outdated lockout/tagout rules? The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) would like to hear from you.

OSHA wants to update its standard for the “Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout),” found in federal regulation at 29 CFR 1910.147.

Specifically, “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 a news release announcing the request for public comment on lockout/tagout, or LOTO, as OSHA refers to it.

The request was also published in the Federal Register. Comments must be submitted on or before August 18, 2019, says OSHA.

The Federal Register request has 23 pages of background and details on the information it is looking for, but for a shorter version, here is the OSHA’s summary in the news release:

“OSHA is requesting information about 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 machines and equipment using an energy-isolating device. The standard specifies that control circuit devices cannot be used as energy-isolating devices, but the agency recognizes recent technological advances may have improved the safety of control circuit-type devices.”

Comments and supporting materials may be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov, according to OSHA, or “by facsimile or mail.” For details on how to comment, see the Federal Register request at https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2019-10247.pdf. Comments and materials should be identified by the Federal Register docket number for the request, Docket No. OSHA-2016-0013.
OSHA asks that commenters “explain their rationale and, if possible, provide data and information to support their comments or recommendations.”

Remember also that public comments can be made public. “Comments and other material, including any personal information, will be placed in the public docket without revision, and will be publicly available online at www.regulations.gov,” warns OSHA. “Therefore, commenters should not submit statements that they do not want made available to the public or include any comments that may contain personal information (either about themselves or others) such as Social Security Numbers, birth dates, and medical data.”


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