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Any comprehensive permit to work system includes not only hot work permits, but also working at heights, confined space entry, electrical systems, digging and excavation, general permit to work and working with hazardous materials/substances.
A successful permit to work system should take into account the following items:
- Nominated employees should be trained in the exposures associated with the particular permit. Details of the training they have received should be recorded.
- The same employees should be trained in how to issue the particular permit to work and again details of the training they have received should be recorded.
- A permit to work is required for ANYONE involved in identified hazardous activities. This includes BOTH employees and contractors. Hazardous activities include, but are not limited to, any work that produces heat or sparks, vessel entry or entry into confined spaces, working at heights above 2m, working in electrical rooms or with high voltage equipment, working in roof voids.
- A time limit should be applied to the permit, with a maximum limit of one day / shift.
- If the permit is not returned at the end of the authorised time or the end of the work shift, whichever is the sooner, the person who authorised the permit should investigate and determine if additional work is necessary.
- If additional work is necessary, a new permit should be issued.
- When the work has been completed and the work area inspected and found to be safe, the person who authorised the permit can enter the date and time the work was completed in the log.
- The log will contain a list of permits issued and allow the authorising person to monitor the completion of work and return of permits.
- The permit-to-work system should be audited annually to ensure that the training, methods of working and operation of the system is properly implemented.
Sites should ensure that the permit system is adequately policed and should encourage all managers and supervisory staff to challenge contractors as seen for possession of a valid permit to work.