Without question, the methods of protecting workers against the sudden startup of machinery have greatly evolved over the years. OSHA’s 29 CFR 1910.147 regulation became law in 1989 and was heavily based on ANSI’s original Z244.1 Lockout Standard first published in 1982. Industry has come a long way since then in terms of technology and new methods, but there certainly is a long way to go.
Each year, OSHA publishes its Top 10 Most Cited Violations and, again for fiscal 2016, lockout was ranked fifth (with outcomes very similar to 2015) in terms of the particular rules that were cited and value of the citations issued. Heightened self-reporting requirements for serious injuries and fatalities are bringing more violations to OSHA’s attention, and it seems many U.S. employers just do not recognize that these types of accidents continue to occur with greater frequency and severity.
The ANSI/ASSE Z244.1 (2016) The Control of Hazardous Energy – Lockout, Tagout and Alternative Methods standard seeks to address these trends with the most significant expansion of best practice guidance since the 2003 Z244 Standard revision was issued. Working as a committee member alongside the many industry representatives, trade associations, labor groups, and subject-matter experts contributing to this latest revision has been a real privilege and a valuable experience.