Authorized or Affected?

Welcome to our first OSHA compliance post. I have been on my lockout tagout soapbox lately, so I thought I would share here.  We have been seeing a trend recently with lockout tagout programs where the terms ‘authorized’ and ‘affected’ are confused in both written lockout tagout programs and in the implementation of programs at work sites.

Authorized employees are authorized (or designated) by the employer as the only employees to perform lockout tagout. Affected employees are those that work in the area and need to be aware that lockout tagout is in process. It is a violation of the Lockout/Tagout standard (29 CFR 1910.147) to allow affected employees to perform lockout tagout.

The most common reason we have been seeing this error is when a manufacturing plant uses production staff to lockout equipment and then maintenance staff apply their locks for servicing or maintenance of the equipment. It is fine for production staff to lockout equipment, however any production staff applying locks should be authorized by the employer and appropriately trained on the standard requirements.