What is the unique circumstance that allows an employee other than the one who applied the lockout/tagout device to remove the device?
When the authorized employee who applied the lockout or tagout device is not available to remove it, that device may be removed under the direction of your supervisor, provided that the following steps are taken.
1) The supervisor must verify that the authorized employee who applied the device is not at the facility.
2) The supervisor must make all reasonable efforts to contact the authorized employee to inform him/her that his/her lockout/tagout device has been removed.
3) The supervisor will ensure that the work area is inspected to ensure that non-essential items have been removed, machine components are operationally intact, all employees have been safely positioned or removed, and that affected employees in the area have been notified that the lock and tag are being removed. The supervisor may designated a maintenance employee to conduct the above listed inspection on a case-by-case basis. No employee may remove a lock or tag belonging to another employee or contractor, unless specifically directed by the facilities supervision or a health and safety officer.
4) The supervisor must ensure that the authorized employee knows that the lockout/tagout device has been removed before he/she resumes work at the facility.
Before the employee who applied the lock or tag that has been removed returns to work, they will be retrained on proper lockout/tagout procedures, instructed on the situation that arose and the steps taken to remove the lock and tag.
Remember, NEVER remove a lock or tag that belongs to someone else, unless a supervisor has approved the removal of the equipment. Removing lockout devices in a unplanned/unauthorized manner can result in injury and possible death of a co-worker.