Work permit system is an important safety tool for any industry. To implement work permit system is not easy for any safety officer. Work permit is usually required for a non-routine job but it depends on the plant management to decide how strictly to adhere to the work permit system. Requirement of work permit system is for successful risk management inside the factory or at construction site or at any place where any hazardous work is going on. Implementation of work permit system is not as easy as it seems to be on paper and some systematic approach may help the implementation ofwork permit system in the factory.
Step1 for Implementation of Work Permit System: - Note down the activities at your site.
This will help in determining what the jobs are and who the people involved in carrying out the job. Remember, the people involved must be seriously considered as the chances of accidents increase when the contractor people are not managed properly.
Step2 for Implementation of Work Permit System: - Select and rate the hazards out of each activity.
There must be activities that pose certain degree of hazard to the workers or to the property. Calculate the risk for these activities. For e.g. at construction site there are a number of activities that require attention including but not limited to working at height, excavation work, welding, etc. These activities if not controlled or monitored properly may lead to severe consequences.
Step3 for Implementation of Work Permit System: -
Prepare formats for the hazardous activities and call them permits.
The formats should include the duration, authorization, safety checklist (PPE requirement, barricading, fire extinguishers requirement etc.), closure requirements (safe closure of the hazardous job is as important as safe start and operation), job initiator etc. Thisdepends on the type of work permit.
Step4 for Implementation of Work Permit System: -
Educate the workers and staff on importance of work permit system.
Workers, supervisors, engineers and the department heads may be trained for successful implementation of this programme. The work permits may be reviewed and inspected on regular basis during the work.
Step5 for Implementation of Work Permit System: - Prepare a task force.
Relying on the safety officer alone may not help. The department managers/engineers should also be held accountable for any hazardous work that goes on in their area. This may be done by deputing the safety representative in each area. This person looks after the authorization of the permit and can be called upon any shortcomings in his area.
Step6 for Implementation of Work Permit System: - Maintain records and keep training the new people
The work permits may be recorded with the safety department for review. This review may help in further improvement of the permit format and the permit system. In addition to this regular training program may be carried on to ensure that people remember the procedure and importance of the work permit system.
Generally the permits used in the industry are hot work permit, excavation work, working at height, electrical work permit, cold work permit etc. It all depends on the type of activity and the type of danger posed by that activity that what permit needs implementation.