The Terrible Tagout: Using a cardboard box as a tagout device

Date First Published on SafetySmart Compliance: September 17th, 2012
Topics: Lockout Tagout |

Step 1:


Step 2:


Apparently, an electrician was working on an outlet that included the boss’s computer. The electrician had to stop working before the boss was ready to go home. So the electrician decided to energize the circuit via another outlet so the boss could keep using his computer for the rest of the day. He then used the cardboard box to “protect” the live outlet (Step 2).

Although it may be creative, this arrangement is an egregious violation of OSHA lockout/tagout requirements.

The Moral: A cardboard box with a scribbled safety message (even with proper spelling–FURST) doesn’t meet the OSHA requirement that tagout devices be:

  • Identified as and used only for tagout purposes
  • Substantial enough to prevent inadvertent or accidental removal
  • Durable enough to withstand the physical environment in which they’re used
  • Constructed and printed so that the safety message remains legible
  • Marked so as to identify the worker applying the device
  • Marked with warnings such as:
    • Do Not Start
    • Do Not Open
    • Do Not Close
    • Do Not Energize
    •  Do Not Operate

Go to the SafetySmart Compliance Lockout/Tagout Compliance Center for a 13 step LOTO compliance program.