What is a permit to work? A permit-to-work is a documented procedure that authorises certain people (who) to carry out specific work (what) within a specified time frame (when) at a specified location (where). It sets out the precautions required to complete the work safely (how), based on a risk assessment and method statement.
Welcome to ‘e-permits insights’, the home for all the news and insights you will need to prevent avoidable incidents in the workplace and enable those under your duty of care to go home safely every night.
Just as background and to get everyone on the same page let’s start by briefly explaining what a ‘permit-to-work’ is and then how e-permits help prevent avoidable incidents, thereby, enabling you to sleep at night.
Where work is considered to be high risk, such as during construction projects, maintenance work, equipment installation and refurbishment, strict controls are required. The work must be carried out against previously agreed safety procedures known as a ‘permit-to-work’ system. The permit-to-work is a documented procedure that authorises certain people (who) to carry out specific work (what) within a specified time frame (when) at a specified location (where). It sets out the precautions required to complete the work safely (how), based on a risk assessment.
Permits-to-work have been in existence for decades and form an important means of fulfilling an organisation’s general duty to ensure the health and safety of employees under section 2 of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. They have typically been paper documents, but over the past 10 years have increasingly become web-based.
e-permits is the UK’s first and leading web-based permit-to-work software system. Developed by EcoOnline, it emulates organisations’ existing permit-to-work regimes but automates processes including competence checks, scenario management, communication, clash checks and documentation, raising alerts when an issues needs to be resolved for work to proceed.
Under paper-based systems there was a major disconnect between health and safety policy and what actually happened on the ground. This disconnect was only discovered when near-misses or incidents occurred. In addition a small number of disreputable contractors would typically circumvent paper-based permit-to-work systems which meant that health and safety company policies were not followed and the lives of contractors, employees and visitors were put at risk.
e-permits reduces that disconnect by reflecting policies and rules in day-to-day activity, managing Risk Assessments and Method Statements (RAMS), checking for adequate insurance, checking the team’s competences and training, emulating correct decision-making scenarios, highlighting clashes and providing complete transparency. The web-based system is accessed by end-user clients, FM service providers and their entire supply chain.
The product has had a major societal impact over the past five years, saving numerous people’s lives, reducing incidents and ensuring that more contractors, employees, visitors and members of the general public go home safe every day. e-permits have numerous benefits: personal, financial, organisational and societal. They keep people safe when undertaking potentially dangerous work, or being around people who are undertaking such work, while also reducing the risk of damage to property, disruption to business and compromised security.
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