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What is a permit to work?


Situations where a permit-to-work would be appropriate include:

  • High or low voltage electrical work.
  • Work on complex production plant.
  • Work in confined spaces.
  • Work involving naked flames (hot work).
  • Work on roofs.
  • Excavation work.
  • Work on or near asbestos.

(This is not an exhaustive list)

A permit-to-work is a document that will set out the way in which the risk is to be controlled by specifying:

  • The scope of work to be carried out.
  • The location of the work.
  • Who is responsible.
  • Who is to do the work.
  • What precautions need to be taken.
  • Hazards identified.
  • PPE required.
  • Authorisation to commence work.
  • What checks will need to be carried out.
  • The emergency arrangements.
  • What to do in unusual circumstances.
  • The time limit of the permit.
  • Handback.
  • Cancellation.

A permit-to-work must be signed by both the person issuing it and the recipient. When all work is complete or the time limit has expired, the permit-to-work must be cancelled and signed to that effect by the issuer. A permit-to-work must also be cancelled if there is a need to change the system of work, since the requirements for safe working will need to be carefully reviewed.

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