On a typically large project there will be a very high volume of permits which can become difficult to control, creating a situation where people, property, the environment, and the organisation is put at risk. It is not unusual to see piles of paper permits which can often be hard to keep up to date and to keep track of.
The e-permit is an alternative to the traditional paper permit which will not only help to reduce risks as well as saving money, but is also more efficient. It is unlikely that there is anything wrong with the existing paper based system but it is likely that there will have been occasions when you have been left exposed to risk.
E-permits enable you to have more information and management control, with less risk and reduced cost. An added financial benefit is that Insurance Companies are now beginning to recognise the improved safety levels conveyed by e-permits and are often prepared to reduce the cost of the insurance by typically between 5% and 10% where e-permits are used.
Paper permits have a lot of vulnerabilities which include; lateness of submissions, high volume of permits, tight deadlines, unavailability of accredited professionals and varied building types in a large portfolio. Any of these threats could seriously compromise safety on site during a project, refurbishment or shut down.
Web based permit systems are management information tools providing critical information when it is needed and thus ensuring that the safest decisions are made. e-permits help to ensure that the right people with the correct skills and proper Method Statements and Risk Assessments are in the right place at the right time, with critical information available to the appropriate people when they need it so they can make the safest decisions.
Essentially you need to know that sub-contractors coming to site have been approved and that they have current adequate insurance cover. You should also be able to inform them if their proposed team lacks appropriate competencies, language skills, training or inductions.
The team on site need to plan their method of work knowing about existing hazards such as asbestos, chemical storage and HV equipment etc. They can then bring the appropriate personnel, equipment and PPE and ensure the correct method of work.
Isolated working, hot working, working at height or in confined spaces all need high risk permits. These high risk permits need to be linked, cross referenced and all be held in one place. This means that if a high risk permit is rejected or cancelled then they all are and that they can only be issued or closed in sequence.
Being able to review Risk Assessments and Method Statements on a regular basis is clearly a benefit. It is also good to know that these Risk Assessments and Method Statements are building specific and have been approved by an Accredited Professional have not been superseded by a later version and will be reviewed on a regular basis.
If work proposed by a sub-contractor breaches your Health & Safety policy or site rules then it will be helpful to be able to quickly inform them of non-compliance. That way you know that the limitations and requirements of your policy and site rules are being enforced consistently on every permit.
With a high number of permits or a large portfolio of buildings, it is helpful if any potentially dangerous clashes are highlighted. If it appears that two parties are planning work at the same location on the same service, then an Accredited Professional can make a decision as to whether to reject one or allow both to proceed, albeit with a warning to both parties. When a request is rejected it would be helpful to let the contractor know why this has happened and what is needed for their permit to be acceptable.
| Benefits of using e-permits· Makes existing processes more effective
· Ensures adherence to rules and policies
· Prevents possibility of dangerous task clashes
· Ensures appropriate competencies
· Building specific Risk Assessments and Method Statements
· High risk permits are only ever issued and closed in sequence
· Cost savings