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Permit to Work Tool Box Talk

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Permit to Work
The system of issuing Permits to Work was first introduced in high risk industries like mining and petrochemicals. The improvement in safety was so marked that the practice has been extended to all industries where a task involving a special risk is to be undertaken. Examples of circumstances were a Permit to Work System may beneficially be operated are:
a) Electrical Work
b) Roof Work
c) Trench Work
d) Hot Work
e) Confined Space Work
f) Work near or above deep water
g) Work in radiation “controlled areas”
No special legislation requires Permits to Work; they are just a way of ensuring a strictly controlled safe place of work and a safe system of work in difficult circumstances. They also allow supervisors to keep a check on what is happening by limiting the issue of permits to what can actually be supervised. A Permit to Work will often be accompanied by a Method Statement stating how the job is to be done.

A Permit to Work ensures that:
1. The task to be done is clearly stated.
2. All potential hazards have been considered and the risks assessed.
3. The measures appropriate to eliminate or control the risks have been put in place.
4. The person(s) to do the work are clear about it, and the safety precautions to be observed.
5. The person authorising them to do it is satisfied about the safety of the risk and method of working.
6. The date and time when the work is to be done is agreed and also when work will stop. (finished or otherwise).
7. The person authorising the work is told, when the work stops, what stage the job has reached. E.g. 100% finished, 50% finished etc.
8. The person acknowledges that he has been told what state the plant is in. E.g. ready to run, further work needed etc.

What to do upon receipt of a Permit to Work:
1. Check that all sections have been completed i.e. all hazards have been considered.
2. Check the date and times when the permit starts and expires. Note: Permits are issued to individuals, therefore should only be valid for one shift. Circumstances can change while you are away, so a new permit is necessary for the next shift.
3. Check the work location to ensure that no problems have been overlooked. Check that persons not included on the permit are excluded from the area. (barriers, notices etc)
4. When you are sure everything is in order, sign for acceptance of the permit and commence work.
During the Work
1. Ensuring that everybody involved observes all the conditions of the permit. Do not relax any of the stipulated precautions.
2. Make sure any safety devices like padlock keys or fuse links are safely in your possession.
3. If things go wrong or the situation changes notify the authorised person at once. The permit may need to be cancelled and a new one issued to cover the new situation.
4. If time runs out, stop work and notify the authorised persons at once. He can decide to issue a new permit or to extend the time.
On Completion
1. Return the permit to the authorised person and both of you sign it to show that the work is complete and the responsibility is passed back to him.

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