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Mine Safety and Health Administration MSHA's Accident Prevention Program
Miner's Tip

Electrical Lockout and Tag

Safety Something YOU can live with!
Mine Type: All Mines
Category: Electrical

Since 1990, there have been at least 75 fatal and 1,850 non-fatal accidents in the mining industry which were classified by MSHA as "Electrical." Many of these could have been prevented if the circuits would have been locked, grounded, and tagged prior to any maintenance work being performed. MSHA regulations for both Metal/Nonmetal and Coal require locking and tagging electrical circuits prior to working on circuits or the mechanical equipment supplied by the circuit. An additional step, the grounding of the circuit adds an important layer of protection for you in case someone may accidently remove your lock and restore power. This procedure is SIMPLE, QUICK, EFFECTIVE, and LIFE-SAVING.

Photo of Lockout

Don't forget to take these simple steps prior to performing any electrical work:
  1. Determine the location of the disconnecting means for the circuit to be worked on.
  2. Carefully de-energize the circuit.
  3. Each employee working on the circuit should place his/her own lock and tag on the disconnecting device.
  4. The circuit to be worked on should be tested for voltage to ensure no electricity is present.
  5. Ground all the phase conductors to the equipment grounding conductor with a jumper.
If each of these steps is followed prior to any electrical work on a circuit or mechanical work on the equipment supplied by the circuit, fatalities resulting from a failure to lock out, ground, and tag would be a thing of the past.

Reissued: 04/30/2002
Tag # AP2002-M025

If you have a tip you would like to pass on, you can e-mail it to If your Miner's tip is selected, you will receive credit in this space.

The video cassette, "Pathway to Safety" (VC-957), available from MSHA, shows you the effects of not taking the time to lock out. To get your copy of this video, please contact the Library at the National Mine Health and Safety Academy at (304) 256-3266 or

MSHA Video Clip - Safety Video "Pathway to Safety" (VC-957)
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