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 standard for Control of Hazardous Energy, also known as the Lockout/Tagout or LOTO. OSHA is seeking input regarding the use of control circuit-type devices to isolate energy, as well as new technologies such as robotics.
OSHA is reviewing whether to initiate rulemaking to revise its control of hazardous energy standard for general industry. The goal with this Request for Information (RFI) is to obtain public comment and input on the 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:
- Limitations of their use, to determine under what other conditions control circuit-type devices could be used safely.
- Information about the types of circuitry and safety procedures being used by companies currently.
- What are the new risks of workers being exposed to hazardous energy as a result of increased interaction with robots.
- Should OSHA consider adaptations to the LOTO standard that would address these new risks.
Published in 1989, the current LOTO hazardous energy standard states 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. It is now becoming clear that recent advances in technology may have resulted in improvements to the safety of control circuit-type devices.
Companies wishing to comment must do so before 18th of August, 2019, comments can be submitted electronically through the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal.
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