A better understanding of NFPA 70E: Lockout

Here is a pop quiz on the lockout and electrically safe work condition requirements in NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®. True or false?

1.    Lockout and tagout devices are the same thing.
2.    You may choose to use either lockout or tagout.
3.    Multiple locks indicate that a complex lockout procedure has been used.
4.    The required procedure for lockout and for tagout is the same.
5.    A written plan is required for all lockout applications.
6.    Lockout is synonymous with establishing an electrically safe work condition.
7.    Any lock can be used as a lockout device.
8.    Verification of a de-energized state must be made with a portable meter.
9.    Temporary grounding must always be used before an electrically safe work condition can exist.
10.    Electrical lockout devices must be distinct from mechanical lockout devices.
11.    A lockout program does not apply to temporary electrical equipment.
12.    Lockout procedures must be audited every 3 years.
13.    Once lockout has been applied and an electrical safe work condition established, there is no need to re-verify that condition.

This was not meant to be a trick quiz. The answer to each question is false.

1.    Lockout requires a lock and tagout does not include a lock. [120.3(C) and 120.3(D)]
2.    Tagout can only be used when the isolation device cannot accept the application of a lock. [120.4(B)(11)(4)]
3.    Multiple locks may be used in a simple lockout process. [120.4(A)(4)]
4.    If tagout is used without a lockout device, an additional safety measure must be used in addition to the application of the tagout device. [120.4(B)(11)(4)]
5.    Simple lockout applications do not require a written plan however, a written plan may be developed. [120.4(A)(4)]
6.    Lockout is a single step in the process of establishing an electrically safe work condition. [120.5(6)]
7.    The lockout device must be unique and readily identifiable. [120.3(B)]
8.    Listed, permanently mounted meters are permitted. [120.5(7) Exception No.1]
9.    Temporary grounding equipment is necessary if induced or stored energy is present or if there is a possibility of energization by contact with other electrical parts. [120.5(8)]
10.    Electrical lockout devices are permitted to be similar to other lockout devices. [120.2(H)(3)]
11.    A lockout program must include temporary as well as portable equipment. [120.1(A)(3)]
12.    Lockout procedures require an annual audit. [110.1(K)(3)]
13.    Unattended job locations, including for a lunch period, require re-verification of the electrically safe work condition. [120.4(B)(6)(4)]

This was refresher of some lockout basics. Sometimes details get lost or forgotten but that doesn't mean they aren't important. If you are responsible for a lockout program, this should have been easy.

For more information on 70E, read my entire 70E blog series on Xchange.  
Next time: How many chapters are in NFPA 70E?

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Christopher Coache
Senior Electrical Engineer

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