Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout)

Hazard Overview

Hazard Overview

What is lockout?

Lockout is the placement of a lockout device on an energy isolating device, in accordance with an established procedure, to ensure that the energy isolating device and the equipment being controlled cannot be operated until the lockout device is removed.

What is tagout?

Tagout is the placement of a tagout device on an energy isolating device, in accordance with an established procedure, to indicate that the energy isolating device and the equipment being controlled may not be operated until the tagout device is removed.

What are the hazards associated with lockout/tagout?

Failure to implement and observe lockout/tagout procedures can result in serious bodily injury (e.g., amputation, electrical burns) and death as a result of the unexpected energization or start up of the machines or equipment, or release of stored energy.

What are the energy sources associated with lockout/tagout?

Any source of electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or other energy.



What can I do to protect myself?

Employees who are authorized to service and perform maintenance on equipment should always ensure that the equipment has been locked out or tagged out in accordance with established procedures before beginning work. Servicing of cord and plug electric equipment that can be deenergized solely by unplugging the equipment from an electrical outlet when the plug remains under the exclusive control of the employee performing the servicing and maintenance does not require lockout/tagout.

What resources are available to assist employers?

Training and Outreach

The lockout/tagout and electrical safety presentations are available to assist employers in training their staff.  In addition, the education, training and technical assistance bureau provides free online safety and health training and outreach services (i.e., speaker's bureau requests, safety booths) upon request. Further, the following pre-recorded webinars are available to assist with employee training: lockout/tagout and machinery and machine guarding

The NCDOL Library offers free safety and health videos (including streaming video services) and related research assistance on consensus standards (i.e., ANSI, NFPA, NEC). 

Safety and Health Programs

The lockout/tagout program and electrical safety-related work practices are also to be customized to fit workplace conditions and equipment.

A-Z Safety and Health Topics

Related resource information can be found on the A-Z safety and health topics pages for machine guardingamputations and electrical safety

Consultation Services

The consultative services bureau provides free and confidential onsite consultation regarding worksite safety and health hazards.



What standards apply?

OSH has adopted the following standards for lockout/tagout in North Carolina. Note: Please also check the standards information and activity webpage to see if there has been any recent or upcoming regulatory activity on this topic. 

General Industry

Maritime, Shipyard Employment 

Other related standards include:

General Industry


Maritime, Shipyard Employment 

Other Applicable Standards

The Which OSHA Standards Apply webpage can also help identify other standards that may be applicable to your worksite.

Learn More

Learn More

Where can I learn more?

Compliance Documents

  • Operational Procedure Notice: OPN 149 - Special Emphasis Program for Amputations establishes the OSH Division's enforcement policy for safety and health inspections where employees may be exposed to amputation hazards on machinery due to lack of guarding and/or failure to utilize energy control procedures.

  • Compliance Directive: CPL 02-00-147, Control of Hazardous Energy, establishes enforcement policy and provides an explanation of the lockout/tagout standard to ensure uniform enforcement.

  • Compliance Directive: CPL 02-01-043, Slide Locks, establishes enforcement policies, inspection procedures and performance guideline criteria for the safe design, construction, installation, testing, maintenance and use of slide-locks used for the control of hazardous energy on machinery

Industry Guides

Technical Assistance

If you would like to receive interpretive guidance on this or any other OSH standard or topic, you can submit your questions using the Ask OSH web form, by e-mail to ask.osh@labor.nc.gov or by calling 919-707-7876.