Identify Lockout/Tagout Authorized and Affected Employees - Safetip #195

Safety Tip and Best Practice
December 18, 2019

Our latest Safetip is about identifying authorized and affected employees in your lockout/tagout (LOTO) program.

OSHA’s LOTO Standard is Among the Most Cited

When a worker performs servicing or maintenance activities on a machine or equipment, there is a risk of an unexpected release of stored energy. This can result in a serious injury or fatality.

Lockout/Tagout (or isolation) procedures are used to protect workers from the unexpected release of stored energy. They isolate a machine or equipment from hazardous energy sources, or make it inoperative.

OSHA’s LOTO standard has consistently ranked among the Agency’s top 5 most cited violations year after year.

What’s the Difference Between Authorized and Affected Employees?

OSHA’s LOTO standard defines “Authorized Employees” and “Affected Employees”, with regulatory obligations associated to each. Here are the exact definitions from the standard:

Affected employee: An employee whose job requires him/her to operate or use a machine or equipment on which servicing or maintenance is being performed under lockout or tagout, or whose job requires him/her to work in an area in which such servicing or maintenance is being performed.

Authorized employee: A person who locks out or tags out machines or equipment in order to perform servicing or maintenance on that machine or equipment. An affected employee becomes an authorized employee when that employee’s duties include performing servicing or maintenance covered under this section.

In short, authorized employees perform LOTO procedures on a machine or equipment by placing LOTO devices, and perform servicing or maintenance. Affected employees can’t perform LOTO procedures, but they operate the machine or equipment, or work in an area where the machine or equipment is located.

Here are the main obligations.

Authorized Employees:

  • Perform lockout or tagout on the machine or equipment on which they will perform servicing or maintenance.
  • Conduct periodic inspections.
  • Get trained on recognizing applicable hazardous energy sources, the type and magnitude of energy found in the workplace, and the methods and means of isolating and/or controlling the energy.
  • Get retrained whenever there is a change in their job assignments, a change in machines, equipment or processes that present a new hazard, or when there is a change in the energy control procedures.

Affected Employees:

  • Get instructed on the purpose and use of the energy control procedure.
  • Get retrained whenever there is a change in their job assignments, a change in machines, equipment or processes that present a new hazard, or when there is a change in the energy control procedures.

Designate all authorized and affected employees in your organization. Make sure that you provide the type of training required by OSHA’s LOTO standard for each employee category, and that you meet other regulatory obligations also.


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Author

JG

Jean-Grégoire Manoukian

Content Thought Leader