System and utility operators are required by OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269(m) to have a procedure to de-energize their systems for protection of the employees working on those systems. The rules in 1910.269(m) do not specifically require a written procedure, but it is hard to imagine how an effective procedure could be maintained if it weren’t written. Unlike lockout/tagout, we refer to these programs as switching and tagging. Switching and tagging apply to transmission and distribution, including substations. The 1910.269 standard has a paragraph (d)(2) on energy control procedures for power plants that is much less rigorous than the traditional lockout/tagout for general industry found in 1910.147, “The control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).” Part 1910.147 specifically exempts “installations under the exclusive control of electric utilities for the purpose of power generation, transmission and distribution …”
Most substation entry and system control centers also have additional rules they must adhere to per the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), including those pertaining to security and reliability of the bulk power systems across the U.S. and Canada.