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Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited
Permit-to-work systems - leaflet from the chemical industry
Permit-to-work systems leaflet from the chemical industry
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has revised its free leaflet for the chemical industry advising on permit-to-work systems. The original leaflet was published following an (HSE) survey which showed that a third of all accidents in the chemical industry were maintenance-related with the largest single cause being a lack of adequate permit-to-work systems.
A permit-to-work system is a formal written system used to control certain types of work that are potentially hazardous. Permits-to-work form an essential part of safe systems of work for many maintenance activities. Much of the work completed by contractors on chemical installations should be controlled by such procedures. A permit is needed when maintenance work can only be carried out if normal safeguards are dropped or when new hazards are introduced by the work. Examples include entry into vessels, hot work and pipeline breaking.
The leaflet urges managers to review their systems critically and gives guidance on how to do this. Permit-to-work systems should be clear on roles and responsibilties of those authorising jobs, assessing the hazards and specifying the necessary precautions (e.g. isolation of plant, emergency arrangements, use of personal protective equipment). The system should have a rigorous hand-back procedure for returning plant to production staff in a safe state once maintenance work has finished. The leaflet describes the essential features of a good permit-to-work scheme.
Copies of Permit-to-Work Systems, ISBN 0 7176 1331 3 are available free of charge from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 6FS. Tel: +44 (0) 1787 881165; Fax: +44 (0) 1787 313995. Priced publications are also available from good booksellers.