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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

Electrical Safety & Lockout / Tagout

Electrical Safety

Electricity is a serious workplace hazard, capable of causing both employee injury and property damage. It is the policy of Ohio State to protect all employees, students and other personnel from potential electrical hazards. This will be accomplished through compliance with the work practices described in the Electric Safety Program along with the effective application of engineering controls, administrative controls and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Ohio State seeks to put forth an organized effort to reduce the potential for injuries relating to electrical hazards.

Electrical Safety in Labs and Offices

Electrical equipment used in an office or lab is potentially hazardous and can cause serious shock, burn injuries, or a fire if improperly used or maintained. If a part of the body comes in contact with the electrical circuit, a shock will occur. Annually, the majority of fire code violations in CFAES buildings involve improper use of extension cords or power strips. An electrical fire can occur when there's a rise in electrical current that exceeds the capacity of the cable, causing overheating which can cause a fire. This situation is often caused by too many devices connected to the same circuit or power strip.

Here are some important safety guidelines to follow.

- Use only equipment that is properly grounded or double-insulated.

- Do not overload outlets.

- Plug appliances directly into wall outlets (refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers. etc....)

- Use surge protectors not extension cords. Do not plug two surge protectors together.

- Pay attention to warning signs. If a cord or item feels hot, makes an unusual noise (buzz or hum), smokes or sparks, take it out of service and replace immediately.

- Do not cover power cords with rugs or mats.

- Do not run electrical cords through pedestrian aisles or doorways.

- Unplug or disconnect machines before servicing or repairing.

- Inspect cords and equipment regularly, and take cords with defects out of service.

- Cover or guard any exposed electrical components or wires.

- Unplug cords from the outlet by gripping the plug. Do not pull the cord.

- Do not use electrical equipment or appliances near water, wet surfaces or when hands or the equipment are wet.

OSU Electrical Safety Program
OSHA Electrical Safety
OSHA Electrical Safety Fact Sheet
OSHA Electrical Safety in the Workplace
Ohio BWC - Electrical safety
Ohio BWC - Working safely with electricity

Lockout / Tagout

The Ohio State LOTO Program establishes requirements for the lockout of energy-isolating devices. The intent is to ensure that equipment is de-energized and isolated from all potentially hazardous energy sources and locked out (and tagged) before employees perform service or maintenance tasks where the unexpected energizing, start-up or release of stored energy could cause injury.

Ohio State Departments with employees assigned to work on areas where LOTO is required are responsible for implementing the LOTO Program, conducting periodic evaluations of the program, ensure affected employees have been properly trained in all applicable areas of LOTO, maintain a list of authorized employees who may perform LOTO procedures, provide sufficient locks and tags for the LOTO procedures being conducted and develop equipment specific LOTO procedures for each type of equipment.

OSU Lockout Tagout Program
OSU Lockout Tagout Writen Program
OSU Lockout Tagout Checklist
Ohio BWC - Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout)


If you have any questions, please contact Kent McGuire (CFAES Safety and Health Coordinator) at or (614) 292-0588. You may also contact the OSU Environmental Health and Safety Office online at or by phone at (614) 292-1284.


Reviewed / Updated: 4/11/22 K. McGuire