The ultimate success of a permit-to-work system depends on the awareness of the people carrying out the activity. If they do not have a sound understanding of permit or isolation requirements, what it means to them and what their responsibilities are, the system will have a limited effect on preventing accidents.Permits-to-work, certificates and risk assessments should be retained at site by the issuing authority for at least 30 days after completion, and then archived for a specified period to enable an effective monitoring and audit process.In addition to checks carried out by issuers, permit-to-work monitoring checks should be undertaken by site management and supervisors to validate compliance with detailed work instructions and control measures. Information gained from permit monitoring should be used to reinforce safe working practices on site.
Monitoring records should be archived on site, and reviewed during periodic permit-to-work audits.Permit-to-work systems should be reviewed regularly to assess their effectiveness. This review should include both leading and lagging indicators as well as specific incidents that could relate to inadequate control of work activity.
The permit-to-work system should be audited regularly, by competent people, preferably external to the site or installation and who are familiar with local management system arrangements.
The audit process should examine monitoring records. Non-conformance with the permit-to-work system should be recorded, and subsequent remedial measures tracked to ensure all issues are effectively closed out. The checklist below can be used to audit (or measure) the permit system against relevant good practice.
Management should be notified immediately if any non-conformance is identified during routine monitoring or auditing, which cannot be immediately resolved.
System reviews, undertaken at least every three years with site and corporate management, should consider audit reports and recent industry information (eg learning from incidents, industry work groups, safety alerts).