After years awaiting the fate of OSHA’s controversial proposed change to write the term “unexpected energization” out of its Lockout/Tagout (“LOTO”) standard, OSHA just announced its new Final Rule of Phase IV of the Standards Improvement Project (“SIP”). The SIP process was designed to allow OSHA a simplified rulemaking path to make non-controversial changes to fix minor issues with existing standards. The SIP IV proposal included numerous minor adjustments to a variety of existing OSHA standards, but one seemingly major change to the LOTO standard. Specifically, the Obama Administration’s OSHA slipped into SIP IV a controversial proposal to revise the scope provision of the LOTO standard to remove the term “unexpected energization” as a prerequisite for the requirements of the LOTO standard to kick-in. After an outcry by the regulated community, this proposed change to the LOTO standard was removed from the Final Rule. However, OSHA signaled it will likely re-visit the issue again in a separate LOTO rulemaking.
History of Standards Improvement Project
OSHA initiated the “Standards Improvement Project” (SIP) during the Clinton Administration, and and there have been a series of four SIP rulemakings since. The Project was intended to allow OSHA to efficiently make non-controversial changes to confusing, outdated, or duplicative elements of OSHA standards and to to align standards across industries and make it easier for employers to understand and comply with safety and health regulations. Continue reading