A permit-to-work system is a formal recorded process used to control work that is identified as potentially hazardous. It is also a means of communication between site/installation management, plant supervisors and operators and those who carry out the hazardous work. Unlike a risk assessment, a permit to work is issued only to a specified person, and only remains valid within an established timeframe, authorising them to carry out the work under strict controls.
They may require a worker to provide key details about their ability to complete a task (such as training, equipment, certifications etc.) and need to be signed off by a manager or supervisor before work can begin. They are typically used for higher risk operations in more dangerous industries such as construction.
What’s needed in a permit?
According to the HSE, the following factors should be considered in the creation of a permit-to-work:
Management of the work permit systems;
Poorly skilled workforce;
Unconscious and conscious incompetence;
Objectives of the work permit system;
Types of work permits required; and
Contents of the work permits.
The HSE also identifies the following failures that may contribute towards a major accident or hazard:
Failing of the site safety management system;
Failure to recognise a hazard before and during maintenance;
Failure to comply with the work permit system in hazardous environments; and
Communication failure during the use of a work permit system.
Advantages of using permit-to-work software
Although permits can be managed via paper-based systems or spreadsheets, bespoke permit-to-work software is a much more desirable option. Not only will it give you a comprehensive overview of the status of your permits in real time, but it will also allow you to automate large parts of the process. This is essential for operations that use external resource, as much of the document gathering and authorisation process requires communications with a disparate community of contractors. To discover more features and benefits of going digital, book an online demonstration of our AssessNET Permit-to-Work software today.