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Legal Requirements for Lockout Tagout

There are no specific UK or Irish regulations relating solely to Lockout Tagout legal requirements. Lockout Tagout regulations are contained within broader Health and Safety regulations within different jurisdictions.

Irish Regulations:

Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007 (updated in 2010)

Regulation 34: Connection to energy sources:

An employer shall ensure that—

  1. all work equipment is fitted with clearly identifiable means to isolate it from all its energy sources, and
  2. the reconnecting of the work equipment to its energy sources poses no risk to the employees concerned.

UK Regulations:

Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998

This regulation ensures that work equipment should not result in health and safety risks regardless of age, condition or origin. It applies to all workplaces and demands that lock-off should be used to prevent unexpected start-up of machinery or equipment.

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

This legislation places legal implications on employers to ensure the safety of electrical devices in the workplace. It draws attention to the importance of isolating electrical equipment before working on live circuits.

BS7671 Requirements For Electrical Installations IEE 2008

Section 537.2.2.4: “Provision shall be made for securing offload isolating devices against inadvertent or unauthorised opening”

Section 537.3.1.2: “Suitable means shall be provided to prevent electrically powered equipment becoming unintentionally reactivated.”

EU Regulations:

EU Guidelines 89/655

EU Guidelines 89/655 details the minimum requirements concerning safety and health while using equipment. Paragraph 2.14 states that “every piece of equipment must be fitted with clearly visible devices with which it can be separated from every energy source.

EN 1037 ‘Safety of machinery – Prevention of unexpected start-up’

This European Standard defines the measures regarding the energy isolation of machinery and the power dissipation to prevent hazardous equipment re-energising. It assures a safe and secure intervention within a risk-prone area.

CEE 89/655

This European directive outlines the minimum regulations for the safety and protection of employees when servicing industrial equipment.

USA Regulations:

OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) which is part of the United States Department of Labor, introduced the standard for The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout).

This standard is more commonly known as the Lockout / Tagout Standard (LOTO) and it addresses the practices and procedures necessary to disable machinery or equipment safely, thereby preventing the release of hazardous energy while employees perform servicing and maintenance activities.

What must employers do to protect employees?

  • Develop, implement, and enforce an energy control program
  • Use lockout devices for equipment that can be locked out. Tagout devices may be used in lieu of lockout devices only if the tagout program provides employee protection equivalent to that provided through a lockout program
  • Ensure that new or overhauled equipment is capable of being locked out
  • Develop, implement, and enforce an effective tagout program if machines or equipment are not capable of being locked out
  • Develop, document, implement, and enforce energy control procedures
  • Use only lockout/tagout devices authorized for the particular equipment or machinery and ensure that they are durable, standardized, and substantial
  • Ensure that lockout/tagout devices identify the individual users
  • Establish a policy that permits only the employee who applied a lockout/tagout device to remove it
  • Inspect energy control procedures at least annually
  • Provide effective training as mandated for all employees covered by the standard
  • Comply with the additional energy control provisions in OSHA standards when machines or equipment must be tested or repositioned, when outside contractors work at the site, in group lockout situations, and during shift or personnel changes.


Learn more about LOTO: