Permit to Work

 
 
 A Permit to Work is a procedure, with a written permit form, which is used to authorize and control work activities with high risk hazards.  The Permit to Work procedure:

 

  • identifies the work that is to be completed

 

  • ensures that all potentially hazardous work is controlled and properly authorised;

 

  • ensures that all hazards associated with the work have been identified;

 

  • ensures that all necessary safety procedures for controlling the risks are properly implemented while the work is being completed; and,

 

  • ensures that the worksite is left in a safe condition when the work is completed or suspended.

 

A Permit to Work, when effectively developed and implemented, serves as a checklist to ensure that all hazards, control measures, work procedures and general safe work requirements are identified, documented, reviewed with and understood by the personnel who will be involved with the work activities.  A Permit to Work provides a record of the authorization and completion of the hazardous work activities, the controls and the authorization for the work. 

 

Permit to Work Applications

 

A Permit to Work should be used for all high risk work activities where existing controls have not reduced the risks to acceptable levels.  Additional risk controls will be developed and implemented through the Permit to Work process (procedure) to ensure that the risks are reduced to acceptable levels.  Often, a Permit to Work is used for non-routine work.  A “non-routine” task is any task that is not described in established procedures and which involves hazardous work that must be controlled to reduce the risks to acceptable levels.

 

A Permit to Work should be used to:

 

  • Describe the work to be completed;

 

  • Identify the hazards associated with the work;

 

  • Specify the necessary safety precautions (risk control measures) that must be implemented to manage the risk;

 

  • Provide appropriate authorisation and responsibilities for proceeding with the work within a specified time and within specified limitations;
  • Inform all affected personnel that the work is being done;

 

  • Ensure that the plant and equipment are returned to a safe condition when the work has been completed or suspended.

 

Types of Permits to Work include:

 

Hot Work Permit

 

Hot work is any work that could create a source of ignition that could result in a fire or explosion.  Examples of hot work include, but are not restricted to:

 

  • Welding and torch cutting;
  • Spark producing tools such as grinders and chippers and power tools such as electric drills;
  • Use of explosives;
  • Use of non-intrinsically safe electrical or electronic equipment.

 

Cold Work Permit

 

High risk Cold Work includes, but is not restricted to:

 

  • Work on equipment or plant components that are under pressure or are energized in some form (e.g. mechanical energy);
  • Work on equipment or plant components that are at extreme temperatures (cold or hot);
  • Work on equipment or plant components that contain hazardous materials;
  • Work on vessels (e.g. tanks, pressure vessels);
  • Isolations of pipe work, valves and associated vessels;
  • General construction;
  • Work on de-energised electrical circuits or on energised circuits of 120 volts or less (shop bench work will not require a permit);
  • Work performed in the immediate vicinity of overhead power lines;
  • Non-routine maintenance work.

 

Confined Space Entry Work Permit

 

Confined Space Entry is any work in a confined space or partially confined space having restricted access or egress and/or which is or may become hazardous to personnel because of:

 

  • The confined space design, construction, and/or location;
  • Atmosphere content (gas composition);
  • The materials or substances in the confined space;
The work activities or other conditions
 

Examples of confined spaces include, but are not restricted to:

 

  • Open or Closed Tanks;
  • Vessels;
  • Towers;
  • Furnaces;
  • Sewers;
  • Sumps;
  • Dry Wells;
  • Ventilation and Exhaust Ducts;
  • Flues;
  • Vaults;
  • Pipes;
  • Reactors;
  • Chambers;
  • Boreholes;

 

Electrical Work Permit

 

Electrical work is any work where the worker or the worker's tools will intentionally be in contact with electrically energised circuits greater than 120 volts.  Testing and/or the use of testing equipment is not considered electrical work, unless the testing requires that the worker and/or the worker's tools will intentionally be in contact with the electrically energised circuits. 

 

Excavation, Trenching and Ground Disturbance Work Permit

 

Trenching, excavating or ground disturbance is any work where excavation, trenching, tunnels, drilling, pile driving and scraping (earth removal) are done.  An exception would be routine grading of roadways where there is no potential for damaging buried pipes, electrical cables or other sub-surface equipment or structures.

 

Vehicle Entry Work Permit

 

Vehicle Entry permits are used whenever vehicles (including heavy duty equipment such as cranes, front end loaders, back-hoes) will be entering areas where there is:

 

  • a possibility of volatile gas releases;
  • the potential for serious, major or critical accidents occurring because of the vehicle entry into the area (e.g. potential for the vehicle striking and damaging equipment).

 

Permit to Work Definitions

 

Competent Person

 

Adequately qualified, suitably trained and with sufficient experience to safely perform work as outlined, without or with only a minimal degree of supervision.

Supervisor or Designated Representative

 

Person who is given the responsibility for planning, organizing, coaching, and guiding the manpower and resources to accomplish the objectives and tasks to complete the job.

 

Permit Issuer (Issuing Authority)

 

A Permit Issuer must be a person who is trained, competent and authorised to issue a Permit to Work after ensuring that all of the hazards, associated with the work being done, have been identified and all necessary safety precautions are being implemented to ensure that the work can be completed safely.

 

Permit Receiver (Permit User)

 

The Permit User is the tradesman, work supervisor or contractor who is responsible for the work being completed as described in the Permit to Work.  The Permit Receiver must ensure that the work being done has been adequately described so that all associated hazards and risks can be identified. 

 

Authorized Gas Tester

 

An authorised gas tester is a person who is trained, competent and authorised to use gas testing instruments to measure gas concentrations in an area where people and equipment will be working and determine whether the atmospheric conditions are safe for doing the work.  The Authorised Gas Tester must be trained and competent to use breathing apparatus as well as the gas testing instruments.

 

Intrinsically Safe

 

Electronic and electrical equipment that has been certified by a recognised industry and/or government Standards Association (e.g. ISO, CSA, ANSI) as not generating electrical spark energy that could ignite volatile gases in the atmosphere.  Most intrinsically safe electronic and electrical equipment has been constructed in a manner to prevent gases from entering parts of the equipment where electrical sparks could be generated.

 

Permit Validity

 

Permit validity is the time period, specified on the Permit to Work, for which the permit is valid.  A Permit to Work cannot be valid for more than 12 hours or for more than the normal work shift; whichever is the least time.  If the work must continue for a period longer than 12 hours or longer than the normal work shift, the Permit to Work must be closed and a new Permit to Work must be prepared.   A Permit to Work is valid only for the work that is described on the Permit to Work.  No one can issue a Permit to Work to himself or herself. 

 

A Permit to Work is not required for normal, routine duties but a Permit to Work is required for any and all work done by a sub-contractor.

Suspended Work

 

Suspended work is work specified on a Permit to Work but which cannot be completed within the time limit specified on the Permit to Work or work which is stopped because of changed conditions that create hazards with unacceptable levels of risk.  The work must be stopped and the work site must be left in a safe and secure condition until appropriate safety procedures have been implemented and the work can resume safely.  A new Permit to Work must be written and issued before work starts again.

 

Isolation

 

A process to prevent the unintentional release of energy (e.g. electricity, forceful release of gases or liquids) or materials.  Electrical isolations are usually achieved with disconnection, opening circuits and using locking mechanisms to prevent unintentional re-connections or circuit closures.  Mechanical isolations are usually achieved through:

 

  • closing valves and/or inserting “blanks”, “spades”  or “blinds” in flange connections for pipes;

 

  • using pins or chains with padlocks to lock in place movable, mechanical parts such as valve handles, crane booms or conveyors;

 

  • disconnecting (turning off switches and/or removing wire connections) and locking electric motors.

 

Zero Energy

 

A system or piece of equipment is in a state of zero energy when all sources of energy (e.g., electrical, mechanical, compressed gas, spring tension) are isolated from it, or effectively blocked and all sources of stored energy are depleted.

 

Responsibilities

 

Management

 

         Ensures that a Permit to Work system has been developed and is being appropriately implemented for all non-routine and/or hazardous work;

 

        Ensures that all personnel, including employees and contractors, are fully aware of, and knowledgeable about, the Company’s Permit to Work system and the application of Permits to Work for non-routine and/or hazardous work;

 

        Ensures that all personnel who are responsible for issuing, receiving and implementing Permits to Work have received the appropriate training and awareness to apply Permits to Work to applicable work situations;

           Ensures that there are sufficient resources, including personnel and time, to appropriately implement the Permit to Work system 
           Ensures that there is a system to monitor the application of Permits to Work to the work site, assess the effectiveness of the Permit to Work system and to ensure that the Permit to Work system is used correctly and appropriately in all situations where a Permit to Work is required.

     

    Supervisor or Designated Representative

     

              Ensures that safe working conditions are planned and prepared prior to, and maintained during, the entire job;

     

              Ensures that, except for emergency situations, applications for Permits to Work are submitted to the Permit to Work issuer at least 24 hours prior to the requirement for the Permit to Work;

     

           Ensures that Permits to Work are issued for all work where Permits to Work are required and that no work proceeds until all of the requirements of the Permit to Work have been fulfilled;

     

         
           Ensures that personnel who are working on jobs and tasks where Permit to Work conditions apply, are fully aware of their respective responsibilities as specified on the Permit to Work;

     

           Ensures that, where necessary, a hazard identification and risk assessment process, such as job safety analysis, has been completed to identify high risk hazards and appropriate risk control measures which will be implemented to reduce those risks to an acceptable level;

     

            Ensures that all necessary risk control measures have been identified on the Permit to Work:

     

           Ensures that all of the terms and conditions are being complied with for any work where a Permit to Work has been issued;

     

           Ensures that work being controlled by a Permit to Work, is regularly monitored for Permit to Work requirement compliance.

     

    HSE Supervisor

     

          Is responsible for developing and implementing Permit to Work training programmes for all personnel who have responsibility for managing, supervising, issuing, receiving and implementing Permit to Work systems;

     

         Is responsible for undertaking regular inspections of work where Permits to Work apply to monitor the effectiveness of the Permit to Work system and its implementation;

     

       

      1.      Is responsible for periodically reporting, to the Company management and supervisory personnel, on the effectiveness of the Permit to Work system and its implementation and for making recommendations for improvement if required.

       

      Permit Issuer (Issuing Authority)

       

              Ensures that Permits to Work are written correctly, specifying all the necessary risk control terms and conditions that are applicable to the type of work being completed;

       

              Ensures that any applicable, supplemental information (e.g. P&ID, confined space entry checklists, isolation checklists and drawings, Job Safety Analysis results and conditions) are attached to all copies of the Permit to Work;

       

              Ensures that Permits to Work are written in a timely fashion, and wherever possible, the work is not unnecessarily delayed because of the Permit to Work process;

       

               Ensures that the permit receiver is a person who is competent to fulfil the terms and conditions that are specified on the Permit to Work;

       

               Ensures that copies of Permits to Work are distributed according to the requirements of the business entity;

       

               Ensures that copies of Permits to Work are prominently displayed in a central location (e.g. on a display board in a control room or office where the permits are issued) so they can be easily reviewed by Management, Supervisors, HS&E and other personnel as appropriate;

       

               Ensures that the original Permit to Work is retained on file for a period of at least two years;

       

              Ensures that Permits to Work are closed out at the end of each 12 hour work shift;

       

               Reports, to Management, Supervisors and HS&E any Permit to Work system deficiencies that are identified.

       

      Permit Receiver (Permit User)

       

               Ensures that he/she is knowledgeable about and understands fully the hazards and risks that are associated with the work that is being completed;

       

               Ensures that he/she is knowledgeable about and understands fully the risk control measures that are to be implemented prior to and during the work that is being completed;

              Ensures that he/she is knowledgeable about and understands the risk control measures that are specified on the Permit to Work;

       

             Ensures that all other personnel who are completing the work or will be affected by the work, are knowledgeable about and understand fully the hazards, risks and risk control measures which are applicable to the work that is being completed;

       

            Ensures that all personnel who are completing the work complies with all of the risk control measures that have been specified on the Permit to Work;

       

              Ensures that if there are any significant changes to the risks or to the scope of work that is being completed that the work is stopped, personnel, equipment and the environment will not suffer a loss and that the Supervisor, or his/her Designated Representative plus the Permit Issuer are fully aware of the change in the risks or scope of work;

       

              Ensures that, if required, the Permit to Work is cancelled and a new Permit to Work, with modified risk control measures, is issued before work resumes;

       

            Ensures that if the work is completed, that the work site is left in a safe and operable condition; that all unnecessary tools, equipment and materials are removed from the site and ensures that the Permit to Work is closed;

       

            Ensures that if the work is not completed at the end of the work shift, that the work site is left in a safe, secure and tidy condition and that another Permit to Work is prepared and issued before work resumes at the work site.

       

      Permit to Work Procedures

       

      Preparation of a Permit to Work

       

      A Permit to Work will be used for any potentially hazardous work or work that will be done by a sub-contractor to the Company.  When work requiring a Permit to Work has been identified, the Permit to Work Issuer will prepare the Permit to Work, using the Permit to Work “checklist” to identify and document on the Permit all hazardous conditions and safety procedures that must be followed by the persons who will complete the work.  The hazardous conditions and safety procedures will be reviewed and where necessary modified during a Pre-job meeting.

       

      The Permit to Work will specify: 

       

      • the type of work being completed;
      • the type of Permit to Work (hot work, cold work, confined space entry, excavation, electrical or vehicle entry) being issued;
      • hazards associated with the work;
      • safety procedures such as:  isolation requirements; gas testing; emergency response procedures; personal protective equipment; purging; stand-by personnel; barriers; and,
      • times that the Permit to Work will be valid.

       

      The Permit to Work will be signed by the Permit Issuer and the Permit Receiver (tradesman, sub-contractor or foreman).

       

      Pre-job Meeting

       

      Before the work starts, a pre-job meeting will be held with all persons, including the sub-contractor foreman and appropriate trades persons, to:

       

      • Review all hazardous conditions that are expected during the work;

       

      • Review all safety procedures that will be followed while completing the work;

       

      • Ensure that all persons completing the work are aware of and accept their responsibilities while completing the work;

       

      • Ensure that all other persons in the general work area are aware of the potential hazards and safety procedures that must be followed;

       

      • Ensure that all of the hazardous conditions and appropriate safety procedures are identified and documented on the Permit to Work;

       

      • Document the results of the pre-job meeting (who attended the meeting, what was discussed and what procedures were agreed upon).

       

      Issue of Permit to Work

       

      Once all of the work tasks, hazards and safety procedures have been identified and documented on the Permit to Work, the Permit issuer must ensure that the appropriate risk controls (e.g. isolations, purging, emergency response preparations, personal protective equipment) have been implemented and that the work site is in a safe condition before he or she authorises the Permit to Work.  The Permit issuer must be satisfied that all of the specified Permit to Work conditions have been complied with before the Permit is authorised and issued.

       

      A signed copy of the Permit to Work will be given to the person who is responsible for supervising the work (tradesman, foreman or sub-contractor) and a copy will be kept by the Permit issuer.   A copy will also be given to the work site H&S Supervisor.

       

      The Permit copy provided to the person who is responsible for supervising the work must be kept at the job site while the work is being done.

       

      Work Conducted With a Permit to Work

       

      After the Permit to Work has been issued, the person supervising the work (tradesman, sub-contractor or foreman) is responsible for ensuring that the Permit to Work conditions are complied with.  The work site Supervisor is responsible for arranging periodic inspections of the work by himself and/or the work site H&S Supervisor to ensure that the Permit to Work conditions are being complied with.  If continuous or periodic gas tests are required while the work is being completed, the authorised gas tester will perform these gas tests and record, on the Permit to Work copies, the gas readings and the times that the gas tests are completed.

       

      If the Permit to Work conditions change significantly, or high risk, hazardous conditions occur while the work is being done, the work must stop until the hazardous condition(s) are eliminated (or the risks are reduced to acceptable levels). 

       

      Temporary Removal of Isolations

       

      There are situations where isolations must be temporarily removed (e.g. when testing equipment during the work).  When isolations must be temporarily removed, the Permit to Work issuer must be informed and checks must be made to ensure that the isolation removal does not create any hazards for the work site and workers before the isolations are removed.  After the requirement for the temporary isolation removal has been completed, the isolations must be replaced and the Permit Issuer must be informed that the isolations have been replaced.

       

      Suspended Work

       

      There are situations where work being done with a Permit to Work must be suspended.  Some examples of when this may occur are:

       

      • High risk, hazardous situations occur and for safety reasons, the work must stop;

       

      • The work requires more time than is allowed on the Permit to Work (the work isn't completed before the time when the Permit to Work expires);

       

      • An accident occurs while the work is being completed;

       

      • An emergency (e.g. fire alarm) occurs at the plant site (e.g. compressor station);

       

      • The work scope changes significantly from what was originally planned when the Permit to Work was prepared and authorised.

       

      Whenever these and similar situations occur, the work must stop immediately; the work site must be made as safe and secure as possible; and a new Permit to Work must be prepared and authorised, following all of the steps required when making any Permit to Work.  In all cases, safety procedures must be implemented to make the work site safe before work starts again (eliminate the hazards or reduce the risks to acceptable levels).   Once the safety procedures have been implemented and a new Permit to Work has been issued, work can start again

      Monitoring the Work

       

      Work that is being completed with a Permit to Work must be regularly monitored by the Project Supervisor and/or the site HSE Supervisor to ensure that the specified safety procedures are being complied with.  The Project Supervisor must make a schedule for determining how often the work should be monitored.  For jobs where there are potentially high risks, the work should be monitored more frequently, particularly when critical tasks are being completed.  Whenever specified safety procedures are not being complied with, the work must be stopped until the Project Supervisor and/or the HSE Supervisor determines that the safety procedures are being complied with. 

       

      If the non-compliance is very serious, a written report, describing what the non-compliance was and why the non-compliance occurred, must be written and submitted to the HSE Manager.  A copy of the report should also be kept at the work site field office.  If a sub-contractor is responsible for the serious non-compliance, another copy of the report should be sent to the Contracts Administration Department and the copy should be kept in the sub-contractor's file for future contract evaluation reference.

       

      Completion of the Work

       

      When the work has been completed, the job site must be left in a safe, operating condition with all locks, tags and isolations removed.   All rubbish, surplus materials, tools and equipment used for the work must be removed from the work site.  To the extent possible, the work site must be restored to its original condition before the work started, unless the work was intended to change the work site condition (e. g. construction of structures, permanent excavations, permanent landscaping).

       

      Closing the Permit to Work

       

      After the work has been completed and left in a safe operating condition, the person responsible for supervising the work (tradesman or sub-contractor foreman) must inform the Project Supervisor.  The Project Supervisor must then inspect the work and ensure that:

       

      • The work was completed as it was specified;
      • All locks, tags and isolations have been removed;
      • The work site was returned to a safe, operating condition;
      • All rubbish, surplus materials, tools and equipment used for the work has been removed from the work site;
      • The work site has been restored to its original condition.

       

      When the Project Supervisor is satisfied that the work site is clean and in a safe operating condition, then both the Project Supervisor and the person responsible for completing the work will check the work finalisation on the Permit to Work and sign to indicate their agreement that all of the safety conditions for completing the work have been met.