Tagout Law and Legal Definition

Tagout refers to signs or labels attached to isolating devices to warn others not to restore energy to the equipment that is disengaged for safety reasons. A tagout safety policy establishes minimum performance requirements for the control of potentially hazardous conditions. This may be accomplished by locking out and tagging out energy isolating devices, and otherwise disabling machines or equipment to prevent unexpected energizing, start-up or release of stored energy.

Tagout procedures are required by many employers to comply with regulations administered by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, often referred to as the General Duty Clause, requires employers to "furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees". Section 5(a)(2) requires employers to "comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act".

Roughly half of the states have OSHA-approved State Plans and have adopted their own standards and enforcement policies. Generally, these States adopt standards that are identical to Federal OSHA. However, some States have adopted different standards applicable to this industry or may have different enforcement policies.