For Control Of Hazardous Energy

Western Washington University’s program for Lockout/Tagout establishes the minimum requirements for the lockout of energy isolating devices whenever maintenance or servicing is done on machines or equipment. The unexpected release of energy from devices which may store energy (such as springs, elevated machine members, rotating flywheels, hydraulic systems, and air, gas, steam, or water pressure, etc.) has the potential to cause harm to individuals working on the device.

All such devices must be constrained from unexpected releases (locked out) or must be tagged with appropriate warnings (tagged out). The program is a requirement of the Washington Administrative Code, Part 296-45-17505, and is contained in Section 17 of the University’s Safety Information Book.

The following procedures are exempt from lockout/tagout:

  • Normal production operation, where no personnel exposure exists
  • Work on cord and plug-connected electric equipment when the hazard of unexpected energization is controlled by the unplugging of equipment and the plug is under the exclusive control of the employee performing the maintenance or service
  • Work on direct-wired electric equipment when the hazard of unexpected energization is controlled by the operation of a switch or circuit breaker on the equipment itself, and the operation of the switch or circuit breaker is under the exclusive control of the employee performing the maintenance or service
  • Hot tap operations involving transmission/distribution systems for gas, steam, or water provided continuity of service is essential; shutdown is impractical; documented procedures are followed; and protective equipment is used.
Energy Control Plan

An energy control plan is to be prepared for all procedures, equipment, or machines with hazardous energy. One plan may be prepared for a group of devices or procedures to the extent practicable.

Documented plans are not required under any or all of the following conditions:

  • The machine or equipment has no potential for stored or residual energy or re-accumulation of stored energy after shut down which could endanger employees.
  • The machine or equipment has a single energy source which can be readily identified and isolated.
  • The isolation and locking out of that energy source will completely de-energize and deactivate the machine or equipment.
  • A single lockout device will achieve a locked-out condition.
  • The lockout device is under the exclusive control of the authorized employee performing the servicing or maintenance.
  • The servicing or maintenance does not create hazards for other employees or students.
  • The University, in utilizing this exception, has no accidents involving the unexpected activation or re-energization of the machine or equipment during servicing or maintenance.
Lockout/Tagout Equipment And Materials

The University supplies locks, tags, chains, wedges, key blocks, and other hardware. Lockout and tagout devices shall be the only means for controlling energy.

Lockout Procedure

The Energy Management Center of the Facilities Management Department (Control) is notified of work to be performed on any device related to Energy Management Center operation.

The energy source is switched to the "off" position at both the hand operated automatic (HOA) and the local disconnect prior to the lockout. Equipment shutdown is verified prior to starting work. The procedure is reversed when work is complete.

  1. Notify all effected employees that servicing or maintenance is required on a machine or equipment and that the machine or equipment must be shut down and locked or tagged out to perform the servicing or maintenance. The Energy Management Center is notified as described above. Facilities Management staff contact the radio base station to effect notification.
  2. The authorized employee shall refer to the energy control plan and other departmental information, as appropriate, to identify the type and magnitude of the energy that the machine or equipment utilizes, shall understand the hazards of the energy, and shall know the methods to control the energy.
  3. If the machine or equipment is operating, it is shut down by the normal stopping procedure (depress the stop button, open the switch, close the valve, call the Energy Management Center, etc.). Orderly shut down must be used to avoid additional hazard.
  4. Locate all energy isolating devices, so that the machine or equipment may be isolated from its energy source(s).
  5. Apply a lockout or tagout device to the energy isolating device(s). Attach locks to hold the energy isolating device in the "off" position. Attach tagout devices to indicate that movement from the safe position is prohibited. Include information or a telephone number to call for information on the tag, or attach a separate information tag.
  6. Stored or residual energy (such as that in capacitors, springs, elevated machine members, rotating flywheels, hydraulic systems, and air, gas, steam, or water pressure, etc.) must be dissipated, restrained, or rendered safe by methods such as grounding, repositioning, blocking, bleeding down, etc.
  7. Ensure that the equipment is disconnected from the energy source(s) by first checking that no personnel are exposed, then verify the isolation of the equipment by operating the push button or other normal operating control(s) or by testing to make certain the equipment will not operate. CAUTION: Return the operating control(s) to the neutral or "off" position after verifying the isolation of the equipment.
  8. The machine or equipment is now locked out.
Restoring Equipment To Service

When the servicing or maintenance is completed and the machine or equipment is ready to return to normal operating condition, the following steps shall be taken:

  1. Check the machine or equipment and the immediate area around the machine or equipment to ensure that nonessential items have been removed and that the machine or equipment components are operationally intact.
  2. Check the work area to ensure that all employees have been safely positioned or removed from the area.
  3. Verify that the controls are in neutral.
  4. The authorized employee who applied the lockout or tagout device removes it and re-energizes the machine or equipment. Energy Management is notified of the restart, as appropriate.

When the authorized employee is not available, the lockout/tagout device may be removed by the immediate supervisor, if:

  • Verification is made that the employee is not present at the University
  • A reasonable effort is made to contact him or her.
  • The supervisor ensures that the employee has knowledge of the situation upon returning to work.
  • The Energy Management supervisor is aware of and approves the re-energization of all devices related to that system.

Note: The removal of some forms of blocking may require re-energization of the machine before safe removal.
Effected employees are notified that the servicing or maintenance is completed and the machine or equipment is ready for use.
In the Facilities Management, the radio base station is contacted and announces to all employees that equipment is ready for use. In case of accident or injury during a lockout/tagout procedure, the equipment involved shall remain locked out until it has been inspected and released for service by the appropriate technician(s).

Group Lockout/Tagout Procedure

Group Lockout/tagout has not been used at Western Washington University, and departments implementing lockout/tagout procedures do not anticipate its implementation in the future.


Contractors' employees must comply fully with all procedures of the University's lockout/tagout control program. If outside personnel engage in activities covered by the lockout/tagout program, these activities shall be approved in advance by the appropriate University personnel.

Page Updated 11.22.2017