What is a Permit to Work System?
Permit to Work is a systematic process used to authorize controlled work in nonstandard, potentially hazardous conditions. This is a written form used to authorize jobs that expose workers to serious hazards or non-routine activities. It identifies the work to be performed along with the level of hazardous conditions involved and the necessary control measures to be taken when attending the job in order to minimize the risk.
Why Use a Permit to Work System?
When a job has the potential to cause serious injuries or death, it is necessary to establish effective control measures without a failure. This leads to the possibilities of misinterpreting the instructions from being missed, forgotten.
It also serves as a checklist to ensure that all hazardous activities, protective measures, work procedures and other safety requirements are reviewed and understood by the assigned worker.
Types of Permits
There are several types of permits,
Hot Work Permits
Issued for work using or generating heat that is sufficient to ignite gases, vapors and dusts, such as welding, gas cutting, etc.
Confined Spaces Permit
Used when workers are required to enter and work in confined spaces such as silos, tanks or deep excavated pits. This confirms that space is free from the dangerous fumes or gases.
Work at height permit
Used when work is performed at height, such as working in an elevated working platform.
Used for work on electrical systems, such as installation or repair of electrical conductors, where there is a possibility of contacting energized electrical conductors.
Content of a Permit
- Details of the workers
- Exact work locations
- Nature of the work
- Date and time the work is to start and end
- Hazards associated with the work
- The precautions to be taken
- Preparatory requirements, such as testing, equipment and machinery to be shut down/ locked out, ventilation, etc.
- Personal protective equipment required
- Emergency equipment needed
- Details & signature of the work supervisor
- Signature of authorized person
- Date and time the permit is issued
Factors that lead to ensure a successful work permit system
- Ensuring that the requirement of a work permit is clearly defined.
- Issuing permits in a timely manner (As work conditions changes it is vital to ensure timeliness)
- Identifying and facilitating the resources needed.
- Verifying that all requirements and conditions are compiled before signing the permit.
- Instead of a general work permit having job specific permits.
- Defining authorities to issue permits.
- Ensuring that the work is discontinued at the time permit expires or facilitating extensions if required.
- Inspecting in between the work is performed, to ensure that every detail of the permit is being followed. In case of a deviation the work needs to be discontinued until the work will get streamlined accurately.
- Having a copy of the work permit at the worksite and another copy with the authorized person.
Content Submitted by
Mr. Mohamed Fahim