Padlocks should be standardized by size and color so that workers can easily identify function and ownership.

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New ANSI Lockout Standard a 'New Direction'

A updated, thoroughly revised, and more protective lockout/tagout standard, ANSI/ASSE Z224.1-2016, Control of Hazardous Energy -- Lockout, Tagout And Alternative Methods, has been finalized, and it is "a game changer in the future" for U.S. and international safety professionals, said Todd Grover, Global Senior Manager, Applied Safety Solutions, for The Master Lock Company.

"I'm excited about all the hubbub about the new ANSI standard," said Grover, who is a member of the ANSI/ASSE Z244 Accredited Standards Committee, a member of the ANSI/ASSE Z10 ASC, and a member of the U.S. Technical Advisory Group to the ISO committee developing the draft 45001 standard. "We started in 2014. What prompted it was we were due to either update or revise the existing ANSI standard in the year 2014. The active year was 2008 on the ANSI lockout standard, and so what we did was we affirmed the 2008 [standard] for 2014 without changes, while knowing we would be working hard in committee on the update."

The committee went through seven drafts during a two-year period to complete the 2016 edition, and there was about 70 percent more participation by companies, labor groups, and specialty firms in the process, Grover said Jan. 10. Committee members reviewed approximately 3,000 comments submitted about the various drafts. (He presented a webinar on the standard for ASSE the following day.)

"It's reflective of how much interest and debate went into this one," he said, referring to heightened interest and thousands of comments during the standard's development. "Lots and lots of interest because there are just a lot more progressive ways [now than in 2008] of locking out equipment and in particular alternative methods." The sophistication of today's guarding systems is well ahead of what was available in 2008, so there was strong interest in ensuring the technologies fitted into the 2016 edition, he said, adding that there are three key areas, but almost everything in the standard has been gone over.

Responsibilities are stressed in it, and there's recognition of practicality -- it says if lockout cannot practically be applied, alternative methods should be used, although that's not what OSHA's current, outdated regulation requires. OSHA representatives did participate on the committee, and Edward V. Grund, CSP, P.E., chairman of the Z224 ASC, asked OSHA chief Dr. David Michaels by letter Dec. 9, 2016, to have OSHA move to adopt the new standard "by announcing that rulemaking will occur in the very near future to revise and update the existing federal standard, (29 CFR 1910.147)."

"In our opinion, the new ANSI Z244.1 (2016) Standard is significantly more protective, more reflective of current technology, and directly supports sound safety practices in American manufacturing," Grund wrote on behalf of the Z244 ASC.

Grover said machine designers can now emphasize that their equipment has been designed to the 2016 standard and can communicate the best ways to lock out that machine, as well as how to work and how to protect workers if maintenance must be done while it is powered.

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