OSHA: Temp Workers Require Lockout/Tagout Protection

Temporary workers are important to many businesses, but they are some of the most at-risk workers on the job. In an effort to curb temporary worker injuries and illnesses, OSHA has released a new Temporary Worker Initiative (TWI) Bulletin concerning Lockout/Tagout or hazardous energy.

Under OSHA temporary workers are afforded the same health and safety protections as full-time employees. When employed under the joint employment of a staffing agency and a host employer, both employers are responsible for a safe workplace.

The Lockout/Tagout bulletin covers OSHA standard 29 CFR 1910.147 – The Control of Hazardous Energy. When workers are performing maintenance or servicing a machine, they need to be protected from the sudden release of hazardous energy. Numerous types of energy can be dangerous including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, thermal, chemical or pneumatic.

According to the TWI Bulletin, the lockout/tagout standard requires that employers:

  • develop and enforce a lockout program with written procedures that include steps for shutting down, isolating, blocking and securing equipment
  • use lockout procedures whenever possible
  • create and enforce a tagout program if equipment can not be locked out
  • ensure that lockout/tagout devices identify each user and establish a rule that only the employee who applied the lockout/tagout device is permitted to remove it
  • inspect procedures at least annually and provide necessary training for employees

While the host employer is usually in the best position to ensure compliance with the Lockout/Tagout standard, both it and the staffing agency share responsibility to make sure that employees are protected from hazardous energy. The staffing agency may provide generalized Lockout/Tagout training, but it also must make sure that the host employer provides training that is specific to their worksite.

OSHA has released 10 TWI Bulletins since 2014, and the latest Lockout/Tagout edition is the third released in 2018. Other topics include noise exposure, bloodborne pathogens, and personal protection equipment. The full list can be viewed by clicking here. 

Struggling with lockout/tagout and controlling hazardous energy at your workplace? Contact the OSHA Workplace Safety Experts at SCT for your free, no obligation consultation.