Permit to work and Risk Assessments

Permits to work and risk assessments should be closely linked. Typically a permit will contain a reference to a risk assessment for the planned activity. The details may vary between risk assessments but typically they should include the following:

Identification of significant risks
It should enable the client/contractor to identify and prioritize control measures
It should be appropriate to the nature of the work and proportionate to the risks
It should be Valid for a reasonable time
It should be completed by a competent person

One issue that often arises is where risk assessments are performed using a separate system – e.g. a paper based system running alongside an electronic permit system. In this scenario, there is a high potential for risk assessments to become separated from the permit – so that personnel signing off on the permit stages have no clear visibility of the risk assessment, leading to potential failure of the system.

It is also possible for risk assessments to drive the permit to work process, so where a control is identified during a risk assessment an appropriate permit can be created to perform the required works. Again these separate tasks can lead to a disconnect between critical elements.

Ideally electronic systems should be used for both permits to work and risk assessments, with appropriate connection between the systems to allow visibility of critical information at each stage of the permit or risk assessment. Appropriate protection should be included in each system to restrict access to sensitive information. Clear and strong controls should also be enforced to ensure that permits cannot be completed without the appropriate risk assessments in place.

The inclusion of a secure and up-to date permit board is recommended to show the current status of all live permits. For more complex sites a location map showing all active permits may provide a more useful display as it will also ideally identify potential SIMOPS where two or more conflicting activities are being executed in the same location at the same time.

TechnipFMC adopt Pisys Permit to work system worldwide

Pisys are extremely proud to be supporting TechnipFMC in its use of the electronic permit to work system across multiple offshore and onshore projects worldwide.

TechnipFMC is a leading technology provider to the traditional and new energies industry; delivering fully integrated projects, products, and services. The company has more than 20,000 staff in 41 countries and a fleet of 18 vessels.

Don Davies, OneFleet HSE Manager at TechnipFMC, said:

TechnipFMC engaged Pisys in 2019 to provide their cloud-based Electronic Permit to Work System (PTW)  across our worldwide vessel fleet and two onshore sites. The accurate and timely creation and management of permits is critical to the smooth operation of projects we're involved in worldwide.

 “Pisys’s team understands the unique challenges faced by offshore personnel in some of the most hostile environments on the planet. We have found the system to be extremely capable, easy to use and highly flexible, requiring minimal end-user training. The system is available 24/7 across all vessels, via our secure internal networks.

 “The ability to synchronise Pisys’s locally hosted installations with the onshore system is very useful, and it was easy to activate dual English/Portuguese operations for our Brazil-based vessels.

We have embedded the PTW system in our procedures, helping us enhance value to our clients through quick and effective creation and management of permits.”

Permit to work in multi-vessel offshore wind installation

The increased activity around offshore wind has led to a rise in demand for permit to work management which is capable of covering multiple sites - including offshore vessels, with multiple - sometimes thousands of staff working across many tasks. A key requirement which we are seeing is the ability to have an overview of all permit activity - something which is very difficult to achieve when permits are being raised on individual vessels. The traditional use of printed permits does not lend itself to rapid sharing of information, and in a rapidly changing environment it is essential that the correct approvals can be communicated to the worksite as quickly as possible.

Internet Connectivity is an issue

A cloud-based permit to work system can address these issues, however it is important to remember that access to cloud based systems relies on a reliable internet connection. Coverage is not 100% and drop-outs will generally result in loss of data. Bandwidth can also be lower than typically available onshore, with an increasing number of systems competing for a relatively low and expensive VSAT bandwidth.
One option which we've seen our customers adopting is to situate local low-cost servers on each vessel. These servers are used to provide a local instance of the permit to work system, running on a web server, so users see exactly the same interface as they would online - the only difference is that the 'internet' is being supplied locally. Permits can be created and managed as required and this approach has the advantage of lack of exposure to internet outages. Synchronisation with an onshore system can also be easily achieved when bandwidth is available.
There are downsides of course - you have a server and local network to manage, but it's likely that the permit to work system can co-exist with other essential systems which require local IT infrastructure. The benefits of having high speed access to permits would appear to trump the possible overhead involved.

Poultry feed group sees major compliance improvements with Permit to work system

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“ Having instant visibility of all work packets taking place from one central location across six feed mills up and down the country has dramatically changed the way in which we govern compliance ”

'We are a medium sized feed milling company providing high quality poultry feed to the farming industry. We currently employ around 300 people at six sites across the UK.
We run five feed mills and one extrusion plant, which differ in size from fairly small with only one production line and a couple of grain silos to our largest site which has four production lines, multiple storage areas, silos, engineering teams and transport departments.
The sites run 24/7 to provide enough feed to the poultry rearing industry to allow us to be a critical part of the UK food chain.
In 2020, we decided that we needed to move away from ourpaper permit to work system.

We decided that a cloud-based E-permit system would suit our purposes and one of the first companies we looked at was Pisys.
After a couple of demonstrations to our engineering teams and mill managers, it became clear that the Pisys Permit to Work system would deliver what we were looking for and within budget.

Above all, we were looking for a system that was user friendly and easy to pick up or teach. The system had to be adaptable, and we found that the Pisys system was exactly that. We have updated our own version three times since installing and have created a POWRA (Point of Work Risk Assessment) from scratch using one of the unused panels within the system.
This means that work can be thoroughly assessed by our engineers and mill staff outside of work hours If the job isn’t a routine task.

Permit To Work software meets regulation and compliance requirements

From a compliance and regulation point of view, our company is in a much better position than it was. We have tied in the company list embedded within the permit system with our approved vendor list. This means that permits cannot be issued to contractors that are not on the system. This gives us a level of control over our contractor management that we never had before.
Stopping a permit being issued if safety criteria is not met or because a contractor isn’t cleared onto our approved list is a great way to improve site safety and ensure compliance.

Permit Plot Plans

Most of our larger sites now have a ‘plot plan map’ showing where permits are active. This is another huge benefit over our old paper system. It is easy to see at a glance if a task is already being carried out in an area. This is essential for work deconfliction where one task could potentially impact on another.

Remote access to permits

Having instant visibility of all work packets taking place from one central location across six feed mills up and down the country has changed the way in which we govern compliance dramatically. Being able to scrutinise a work permit remotely to ensure that our colleagues are completing them fully and accurately is a great way to spot where someone might need extra coaching in safety procedures. Overall, I would say that this system has moved our company forward a long way in a few very key areas.'

Large private healthcare facilities operator selects Pisys PTW

Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@sporfirios?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">sandro porfirio</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/hospital?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>

One of the world's largest healthcare facilities operators kindly gave us their feedback after adopting the electronic permit to work system:

'We`re happy we`ve found an easy to use intuitive system for both front line staff and administration allowing us to make required alterations to control risks on site as they present themselves and improve our compliance control for internal and external auditing'

Better management control
We decided to migrate from a paper based PTW to an Electronic PTW system in 2020 to improve our auditing capabilities, improve resource usage, provide more managerial oversight and tighten our health and safety control of contractors in our acute healthcare environments.

Most user friendly, easiest to adapt existing process
After meeting with several providers we decided to go with the Pisys system as it presented the most user friendly model allowing us to keep our existing layouts while implementing ongoing improvement carried out by our own internal team.

Great help from Pisys before we bought
We initially met with Pisys to ensure we had the correct product for our needs and were provided great technical support all the way through setup and launch at over 100 facilities across the UK.

A huge help during Covid
Since launch we`ve made several changes to ensure our PTW covers all the new requirements of COVID safety in Healthcare along with various user friendly improvements for front line staff and managers. Every step of the way has been made easy and hassle free with quick and efficient support from Nick and the technical support team. We`re now able to capture COVID safety questionnaires, results of lateral flow and PCR testing and issue permits remotely to contractors working outside of normal hours and at remote sites. This has led to greater safety for our staff and patients with several examples of visiting contractors not meeting Covid safety requirements and being rescheduled for when their risks are controlled.

Front line staff like it
We saw a large increase in permit volumes in the weeks & months after launch proving how user friendly the system is for front line staff, improving both our H&S controls and compliance across all sites. Our contractors have fully bought into the system with very positive feedback on how quick and efficient the process is compared to the old paper based permits.

Global Food ingredient producer reduces risk during COVID

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Global food ingredients manufacturer’s EHS Compliance Manager says I would recommend Pisys PTW to anyone who requires a paperless, auditable permit to work system that’s so easy to use

'We initially started looking for an electronic permit to work system to cut down on paperwork, remove the need for filing permits for our audit system and reducing the risk of handling / signing permit paperwork with high numbers of maintenance employees and contractors due to Covid 19. We decided to run a trial with the Pisys system, which was very successful and we found it to be a very user friendly program with excellent traceability of previous permits and live permits across our site. Whilst on the trial and to date we`ve received excellent support from all of the team at Pisys'

Civil Engineering Giant uses Pisys Permit to Work to manage NHS Healthcare complex

Food Factory - photo by Walter Otto on Unsplash

We asked this civil engineering giant about their experience in using Pisys PTW to manage an NHS Hospital healthcare complex.

The Challenge

Why did you need an electronic Permit to Work system?
We have a dynamic and constantly evolving business model and we needed a flexible electronic PTW which coped with ever increasing compliance and client demands along with a need to stream line the process in a more time efficient manner to free up operatives.

What were the main requirements and features you were looking for
We were looking for a system that adhered to ISO27001 to comply with company and client protocols, was remotely accessible and had the ability to customise to site requirements.
We required the system to have numerous users with varying degrees of access and control over the issuing of permits. Working in the Health Care industry we also required a user friendly, intuitive system that is easily auditable by internal and external auditors.

How did you engage with Pisys?
My first point of contact was with Allan Sutherland who made the whole demonstration and purchasing process simple and efficient. Allan and his colleagues walked us through the process and has always been on hand since completion to assist with quires and upgrades.

Can you describe how you have implemented, and used Pisys Permit To Work
Our implementation of Pisys has involved engaging with sub contractors to send in details and RAMS of works in advance so permits can be created by supervisors and issued by appropriate engineers on day of works. This enables us to send completed electronic copies of the PTW to the operative carrying out the works, the client and any other relevant parties ensuring all have knowledge of on going live works.
As part of the implementation Pisys digitised 2000 rooms and work areas which gives us excellent visualisation of jobs in progress
The types of permits we are currently utilising are general permit to work, hot works and working at height. Another advantage of Pisys is when a hot works permit is carried out we can send an electronic copy to the clients fire officer
COVID risk- thanks to Pisys we have been able to have a decreased presence on site without having a decrease in work output simply because Permits can be raised and created by appropriate people off site and checked and issued by people on site. Along with there being no physical contact with the platform being electronic our Covid risk has greatly reduced keeping ourselves and our clients safer.

How has the solution benefited you, your company, clients etc
The benefit to our company is we are now more time efficient, greater level of compliance and auditability and a lowered carbon footprint. As a user and permit issuer Pisys has allowed me to achieve a greater level of time management efficiency along with the ability to monitor permits whilst anywhere on site using a tablet. Our client has benefited with a more robust, traceable and concise form of permitting.

How would you summarise the solution and working with Pisys?
Efficiency and compliance increased with risk and carbon footprint drastically decreased

Multinational Petfood manufacturer says Permit system is a ‘Pleasure to use’

Food Factory - photo by Walter Otto on Unsplash

This is the unedited statement of the main user of Pisys Permit to Work who had the system up and running in a matter of days. It has been especially useful during the Covid lockdown whether he has share the app over Teams with contractors to complete permit issue, hand back and sign-off remotely.

The Challenge

After being tasked to find and implement something to replace our dated paper based permit to work system, I did some research and found the Pisys website. I found their website very informative and compared to other solutions, they didn’t require contact details just to see a demonstration.

I was impressed with what I saw and decided to get in touch with them. I had a reply almost instantly. We had a quick conversation where I described the things I was looking for, and Pisys were able to provide nearly everything I was looking for. We arranged an MS Teams meeting so that the site stakeholders could see the demonstration and to meet the guys at Pisys, that went well, and we progressed to a hosted trial for our site. The steps required to get the trial up and running were explained clearly, and it allowed us to have a temporary solution up and running in very little time.

One of our requirements was to have the solution hosted onsite, again no problem, every step of the installation was straightforward and the support I received was perfect.

Now that we have the Pisys solution, we can have a paperless, auditable permit to work system that is a pleasure to use. During the Covid lockdown, we have been able to host a Teams meeting and go through the completion of a permit with a contractor whilst still maintaining social distancing. This method still allows for a meaningful conversation to take place without the pressure of needing to be too close to each other.

We have gone from a system that could take a while to complete causing delays in getting work done, to now having a solution that saves time, is auditable, user friendly and gives indication where work is being undertaken around the site therefore improving site safety. The feedback from contractors has been positive and they have been happy to use it when they come to site

All in all, I have found that my experiences of working with Pisys a great one, and look forward to the continued relationship we have.

Foot off the Brake for Automotive Parts Manufacturer with Pisys Permit To Work

Flowers at Argitech Research Site where Pisys Permit to Work was implemented

Case Study: This key player in the automotive parts industry swapped their paper-based permit system for Pisys PTW.

It took only 3 months from initial enquiry to going live with the new system throughout their manufacturing plant, which produces components for passenger, commercial and racing vehicles.

The result is a reduction in workload for the Permit Manager, shared responsibilities and better control over the whole permit cycle from creation to close-out.

The company also added a ‘Contractor Work Authority’ form for minimal risk tasks to the system – giving them a complete overview of every planned an ongoing job throughout the manufacturing plant.

The Challenge

When a new Facilities Manager joined the company, he looked at the company’s PTW activities with a fresh pair of eyes: the permit form was solid and the process well-established; he also knew that an electronic PTW system could make a good system even better.

Under the old system, the FM was responsible for raising all permits for the entire manufacturing plant, which was time consuming and detracted from his other responsibilities.

Each Permit was only valid for 12 hours even if the job continued over longer periods.  New permits were created for these jobs every day, which led to unnecessary duplication of work.

Permits for jobs which finished after hours were sometimes not cancelled until the following day, if the FM was off site or had gone home for the day.  If this was the case, it was often difficult to establish whether any reviews were done while the contractors were still on site.

The FM embarked on a search for an electronic system which would allow:

  • a team of people to share permit management – ensuring that there was always somebody who could action permits, even if the FM was not around.
  • a way to record reviews on the permit
  • electronic permit archives

The Process

An internet search led the FM to Pisys, who reviewed the company’s existing paper PTW forms – and found that it was a great candidate for Pisys PTW:  the software could be customised to keep all permit questions and replicate the workflow, with the addition of all the improvements the FM proposed already possible.

Following a software demo to a team of key HSE, Engineering and IT personnel, Pisys received a brief and decisive email: “Thank you for today. I was very impressed with the system, as was everyone else”, along with the decision to implement a trial of the system at the manufacturing siite.

The Pisys team agreed to do the customisation, and the trial started with a PTW system that staff were already familiar with, as all the permit questions were still the same.

Personnel quickly saw the potential and flexibility of the system to also manage minimal risk work tasks carried out by contractors.

The Pisys Team helped to create this electronic form, which has a simpler set of controls and workflow than the full PTW form.

After this addition, the electronic Permit Board showed ALL work going on in the factory, not just Permits.

The trial was successful, and a decision to purchase was taken. The Pisys team implemented the site’s plot plan, consisting of 81 areas – which shows permits and Contractor Work Authorisations as coloured dots in their work location.

The Solution

Pisys worked closely with this customer to understand their current system, which consisted of flow charts, procedures and multiple paper forms

The Pisys team then customized the ‘off-the-shelf’ PTW system, and the fine-tuned the system to do exactly what the customer required.

For some of this, the software development team had to get involved, namely, to create SMS notifications, email re-direction and a form to enter continuous gas testing.

Extra development work was organized as a separate software development project, which ran side-by-side with the customisation and implementati

The solution for this customer was a direct transfer of their existing paper system onto Pisys PTW, including provision for Working at Height, Electrical, Hot Work, Confined Space, Asbestos, Fire Alarm and a simple Isolations checklist with space to attach Isolations Certificates.

 

As before, the process handles Permit creation, issue & acceptance and closeout/cancellation.

In addition, the system now offers:

  • A suspend/re-instate workflow – avoiding the need to create new permits from scratch every day
  • Confirmation of completion of job
  • A record of all Reviews of Work Conditions carried out on site while the job was ongoing
  • Email notifications to key personnel at permit issue and cancellation
  • A plot plan of the site, showing permits and work authorisations in their locations
  • A Contractor Authorisation form and process for non-PTW-jobs.

To share the workload, initially 12 key personnel (e.g. Maintenance Manager, Project Engineer) were given accounts on the PTW System. All had the rights to create, issue, suspend and cancel permits, and to add worksite reviews.

The system, which runs on the cloud and is accessible from anywhere with internet/WiFi/4G signal, keeps everyone informed on the status and location of each permit, and helps people collaborate on permits – avoiding single-point failures and ensuring hand-backs/cancellations are completed even in the middle of the night.

To avoid having to raise a new permit for ongoing jobs every 12 hours, the suspend/re-instate feature is used heavily, along with the ‘Worksite Review’ feature.

The Results

  • Reduction in workload for the FM, shared responsibility and avoidance of single-point failure, as:
    • other personnel can now create, issue and close permits – even after hours
    • fewer permits are created every day, thanks to the suspend/re-instate process
  • Handbacks are completed straight away and include a review with the contractor, even if a job finishes after hours or in the middle of the night.
  • Physical storage space for permit archives is greatly reduced, as all current and historic permits are stored on the Cloud, with access from anywhere at any time.
  • BONUS RESULT: Better control of contractors through the introduction of a ‘General Work Aughority’ Form and process, which is managed ‘under the same roof’ as Permits.

The success of this implementation is shown in the fact that the number of users has more than doubled since the system was introduced, and it is now widely accepted throughout this company’s car parts manufacturing plant.

Find out more about Pisys PTW Software here: https://pisys.co/permit-to-work-software/