Environmental, Health and Safety Services

General Requirements


Employees are expected to use work practices developed in accordance with this program to prevent injuries that could result from the unexpected start-up of equipment or the release of stored energy.

Servicing and/or maintenance activities may only be performed by a "Authorized Employee" following the General Lockout Procedure or written Energy Control Procedure, as applicable. Parts of machinery or processes not verified as deenergized using approved procedures must be treated as energized.

Attendance records (e.g. sign in sheets) for Lockout Authorized Employee training provided by EHS will be maintained by EHS as long as administratively necessary. EHS will provide Lockout Authorized Employee cards to employees who complete the Lockout Authorized Employee training.

Due to incident, observation of unsafe work practice(s), update of this program, or changes to operating guidelines, EHS may require refresher training for Lockout Authorized Employees prior to the established refresher period of three years.

Energy Isolating Devices

Valve Cover

Energy isolation devices not installed directly on the machine or equipment or located such that the purpose is obvious must be labeled to indicate the machinery or equipment served. A lockable energy isolation device must be installed with equipment as part of a new installation, major replacement, repair, renovation, or modification. Departments must make the effort to retrofit machinery and equipment with lockable energy isolation devices.

Locks, Tags, And Lockout Devices


Virginia Tech requires that both a lock and a tag be used for lockout activities in order to identify the lock for personnel protection, as well as to identify the person placing the lock on the equipment or system. Locks, tags, and lockout devices may not be used for any purpose other than lockout. Locks, tags, and lockout devices must be durable enough to withstand the environment in which they will be used. Locks, tags, and lockout devices must be provided by the department as needed for isolating, securing, blanking or blinding machines, equipment or processes from energy sources.

Locks must be assigned, issued, and individually keyed for each Lockout Authorized Employee such that only the employee can install or remove their lock. Locks may be permanently assigned to an employee or locks may be generally available to employees provided the above conditions are met. Employees may use only their assigned lock(s). Locks and tags shall be applied to the disconnecting means by each person who will be working on the machine/system. Where this is not feasible, alternate written procedures must be approved by EHS to ensure effective protection. Locks, tags, and lockout devices must not be removed without permission from the Lockout Authorized Employee who applied them and are not to be bypassed, ignored, or otherwise defeated.

Tags must be securely attached to the lock as a means of identification. Tags must be substantial enough to prevent accidental removal. The tag must show the name of the Lockout Authorized Employee applying the device, the date and time that work began, and phone or radio contact information. Tags must warn about hazardous conditions that may result if the machine or equipment is energized and must include a legend such as: Do Not Start, Do Not Operate, Do Not Close, Do Not Energize, or Do Not Open. Tags must be legible and understandable.

Group Lockout/Tagout Procedures

Each Lock should
have a tag on it
to identify the
authorize person

When more than one Lockout Authorized Employee must lockout more than one energy source, a group lockout procedure may be implemented under the direction of a Primary Lockout Authorized Employee. The Primary Lockout Authorized Employee will have responsibility for control of the group lockout procedure. Typically, the Primary Authorized Employee will place his/her lock on the lockout device first (and remove it last).

Each Lockout Authorized Employee participating in a group lockout has the right to, and should, personally verify the effectiveness of the lockout procedure. A Lockout Authorized Employee who opts to verify the lockout may perform this verification only after affixing his or her personal lock, before performing service/maintenance work, and after verifying that no other employees will be adversely affected by the verification process.

Shift or Personnel Changes

When repair or maintenance work extends beyond one shift, Lockout Authorized Employees entering the work area must affix their locks in place before departing employees remove their locks, or a comparable system of assuring the continuation of lockout conditions must be developed and used. Verification of the lockout must be performed on each shift before any Lockout Authorized Employee begins work. This verification must be performed by a Primary Lockout Authorized Employee for the oncoming shift. This does not reduce the right of any Lockout Authorized Employee to verify.

Emergency Lock Removal

A Lockout Authorized Employee on campus or at the location where the lock is located retains the sole authority to remove his or her lock, tag, and any associated lockout devices. When an employee is unavailable to remove his or her lock and it is necessary to complete the lockout procedure and restart the machinery or equipment, the Lockout Authorized Employee's supervisor has the authority to remove the Lockout Authorized Employee's lock by following and completing the Emergency Lock Removal Form ( doc | pdf ). In the case of Group Lockout situations, the Primary Lockout Authorized Employee must also participate in the Emergency Lock Removal Process.

The department must develop an emergency lock removal procedure that identifies supervisory Lockout Authorized Employees who will implement the procedure, whether locks will or will not be destroyed as part of the removal, and the use and control of second keys, if used.

The intent of the Emergency Lock Removal process is to transfer responsibility of the lockout procedure to another Lockout Authorized Employee. When the Emergency Lock Removal procedure has been implemented, the completed form must be maintained by the department for five (5) years.

Annual Review Process

EHS, in conjunction with supervisors and designated departmental safety coordinators, will conduct an annual review of each work group that performs lockout/tagout activities within the scope of this program to correct any deficiencies or inadequacies indentified. Annual reviews shall be performed on written Energy Control Procedures for employees using such procedures during their annual safety evaluation. EHS will retain information for reviews for five years.