On May 17, 2019, The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a trade release requesting information on a possible update to the Control of Hazardous Energy, also known as the Lockout/Tagout (LOTO) standard. OSHA is seeking comments and information about the use of control circuit-type devices to isolate energy, as well as the evolving technology for robotics. According to OSHA, it is considering whether to initiate rulemaking to revise its control of hazardous energy standard for general industry. Their goal with this Request for Information (RFI) is to obtain public comment on modernization of the control of hazardous energy standard without compromising worker safety.
OSHA is requesting information about how employers have been using control circuit devices. This includes:
- 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, which was published in 1989, requires that all sources of energy be controlled during servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment using an energy-isolating device, and specifies that control circuit devices cannot be used as energy-isolating devices. However, OSHA recognizes that recent technological advances may have improved the safety of control circuit-type devices.
We encourage all our customers to consider commenting directly or through trade organizations to ensure that OSHA has the best available information to make informed decisions. Comments must be submitted on or before August 18, 2019. Comments and materials may be submitted electronically through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal, facsimile, or mail. For more information about the RFI See the Federal Register notice.