Safety software systems: unpacking key terms

Safety software systems: unpacking key terms

Learn More About Safety Software Systems

There is a lot of jargon in the world of safety management, and a lot of key terms that need exploring. Often the terms safety software, safety management, safety systems and safety tech are used interchangeably, but they can mean slightly different things.

We’re unpacking the meaning behind safety software systems, so that you can choose a safety software provider with ease.

man in white hard hat standing on brown wooden dock during daytime

What are safety software systems?

In essence, a safety software system refers to a safety management system that uses software to minimise risk. In most cases, entities using safety software systems as their key term to define their safety procedures will use it interchangeably with SMS (safety management system).

Safety management systems were derived to minimise risk and provide safety defences. According to literature reviewing SMSs; “there are two main groups of models informing SMSs: (1) accident related models, and (2) organisational models”.

Accident related models are more responsive and passive. They kick into action when an incident has occured (which is often too late). Meanwhile, the organisational model is a much more preventative approach that focuses on policies, procedures and people to ensure that accidents don’t occur. 

This is where safety software really comes into its own, as it provides an online management system for all data concerning safety within your business. Formed with theory, practice and standards levels in mind, safety software systems allow businesses to manage safety and compliance before an incident occurs, which is really what we want.

orange lights on top of white and red metal bars

FAQ about safety software systems

If you’re exploring your options when it comes to safety software systems, here’s a few questions you might like to ask prospective safety software providers.

Where is your precious safety data hosted?

How many times do you hear of businesses having a data breach? Often this is due to where their data is stored and managed. There is no rush when choosing a safety software provider – it’s much better to take your time and investigate where your data will be hosted to ensure that it will be secure.

All data needs to be protected, but in the case of safety data this is even more prominent. Safety data might provide details like personal medical histories, incident details and private information about your team.

This kind of information needs to be hosted in secure regulatory environments, where it won’t be compromised. A good rule of thumb is to check in with the software provider and see if they’re hosting in line with government standards concerning safety data. You’ll find this compliance information in the AS ISO/IEC 27004:2018 if you’re in Australia. 

Is it easily adjustable and flexible?

SMS will be ever-evolving to keep up with changes to your environment and industry standards. For this reason, you need safety software that can keep up. Look for safety software that is easy to configure with your business and can be adjusted to suit your needs. Every business is different, so every business will need slightly different safety software options.

Does it have language options?

We live in a multicultural society, so it’s important that everyone is catered for. Some people may choose to use a different language to fill in forms, or look at safety regulations that can be vital to their job.

Safety software systems should be able to offer different language settings, so that people can read policies and procedures in a language that best suits them.

Does it cover off legal and compliance obligations?

This is of course one of the most important questions to ask. Record keeping, signing certain documents, having safety information like permits collated etc. is so important. 

Before choosing a safety software provider, look at what your industry-specific compliance obligations are, and ensure that your software will help you meet them.

Is it mobile-friendly?

Last but not least, you want safety software that is mobile friendly. In the modern world, everything is done on mobile, and in a dynamic working environment it’s very helpful for people to be able to access safety information wherever they are.

Software that is mobile friendly ensures that people don’t take a “I can fill that form in later” or “I’ll check out that person’s permit later” approach to safety. With everything you need in the palm of your hand, staff are much more likely to follow procedures in the moment, with the end result of minimised risk across the business.

Beakon builds mobile-friendly safety management software that caters to a variety of industries. We’ve worked with businesses across multiple sectors to bring them tailored safety solutions. 

Want to learn more? Why not start a free trial now?

Tools That Aid Project Management On Your Construction Site

Why Planning Is Essential To Safety Management

Often businesses will have had safety management systems in place for years and years. But despite the changing times, the safety management procedures will stay the same. This really doesn’t make sense, or meet compliance standards. Working to a safety system that has no prior planning behind it is a recipe for disaster.

Then on the other hand, there are businesses who are putting a new safety management procedure in place, but are doing so using a generic system. Without setting boundaries and defining the specifics within your business, a safety management system isn’t going to work to its full potential.

That’s why the planning stage of safety management is so important. We’re unpacking that further in this article.

white and black round pendant

Why is planning crucial to safety management?

SafeWork Australia sums it up well by stating that the planning stages involve:

“The work performed to define the scope, boundaries and performance objectives of a specific SMS component”.

In essence, the planning stages need to define exactly what each part of the safety management system is hoping to achieve, and set clear objectives on how to get there. 

When planning, businesses will need to take into account the specific risks of the business, and assess where how they can be mitigated.

To plan effectively, businesses might carry out a safety audit which includes a risk assessment, as well as looking at any prior incidents and how they occurred. It can also be beneficial to talk to various members of the team and take their feedback onboard, as often different team members will be able to add different insights.

Adequate control of these risks will only be achieved if planning is carried out beforehand in order to really establish what is going on within the organisation. From there, you can implement an effective safety management system.

construction worker on street

What kind of planning should go into safety management systems?

When planning prior to implementing a safety management system, you need to scope the kind of hazards and the measures that are already in place to mitigate them. 

You need to assess where the organisation is at present, by considering accurate information about the current situation. From there you can look at where you want to progress to, using industry governing bodies and legal requirements to guide you.

The areas of planning that could precede a safety management system are:

  • A safety audit
  • An assessment of prior incidents
  • An assessment of emergency procedures
  • An audit of current knowledge and understanding within the business
  • Legal and compliance requirements that must be adhered to
  • Planning the specific risks of the industry and/or workplace
  • Assessing who is responsible for workplace safety and how roles will be assigned
  • Planning when reviews will take place assorted notepads

How should planning be carried out?

Planning should be carried out with a few things in mind that will help you achieve the best outcome. The planning you undertake should be:

  • Accurate: it’s vital that risks are assessed accurately, current procedures are assessed accurately and information is accurate. They provide the solid foundations for the entire system to function.

 

  • Flexible and ongoing: while you may undertake some intensive planning before implementing a safety system, the process should be ongoing as new risks present themselves within your organisation.

 

  • Inclusive: while planning, the more people you can include in the process the better. Every individual will have their own viewpoint and may be able to add valuable insight about what should be included in the safety management system.

Do you need help with planning your safety procedures? Beakon can help. Find out more about our safety management system  and how we can protect your business and keep your people safe.

Safety Management Software: Crane Safety On Construction Sites

Safety Management Software: Crane Safety On Construction Sites

Safety Management Software can help to reduce workplace incidents, especially in the world of construction. In recent months, research has been published by the NSW Centre for WHS looking into crane safety on construction sites. 

The paper is based on the Crane safety in construction research produced by the Centre for Work Health and Safety and RMIT and digs into the fatal incidents that have happened in Australia while workers have been using cranes.

The report highlights some interesting points about incidents and how we can work together to minimise these tragic events.

Why was the report carried out?

Crane usage is a major risk and hazard on any construction site, but the 47 Australian workers killed in incidents involving cranes between 2003 and 2015 are significantly high (SafeWork Australia, 2016). 

When the number of fatalities are that high, it is imperative that government organisations and governing bodies look into how these fatal events can be prevented.

It’s not only deaths that we want to monitor and prevent though, the report also highlighted the need to minimise injuries involving cranes too. On average, 240 serious injury claims arise from crane safety incidents every year (SafeWork Australia, 2019), which for a developed country with a relatively small population, is too high.

The aim of the study was to:

  1. identify the causes and contributing factors associated with safety incidents involving cranes in the construction industry; and
  2. explore strategies/programs/approaches that could be or have been successfully implemented to prevent crane safety incidents in the construction industry.

 

What did the study into safety incidents find?

This is a very topline overview, and for the full details you can read the study in full over at the Centre For WHS website.  It’s an important research summary for those working in construction, either with cranes or managing workers and subcontractors who use cranes.

The key risk factors that the report concluded were contributing causes to incidents involving cranes were:

  • The regulatory environment

Is the business regulating their safety environment well? Were measures put in place to try and prevent incidents (like adopting safety management software)? Had the business worked on prior risks or incidents to do better and did they take into account the current regulations? When the answers to these questions are no, the risk of an incident is higher.

  • Prevailing levels of worker skill and competency

Did workers have training and qualifications? Were they up to date? Had they been working recently in the same field? How was this measured and assessed? These are important in assessing the risk of an incident. 

  • Industry supply issues

Were safety measures impacted by supply issues? This could be physical resources, or man power. In other words, was the team ‘down’ or under pressure in any way because of supply problems?

  • Site planning and management issues

Site management is really important. How was the site managed? How were visitors on the site reported? Did contractors have their own safety measures and understanding? Were safety considerations managed well?

  • Physical worksite conditions

These could be things like physical risks that are presented on the day. Eg – weather conditions, the way the site was set up, how equipment was set up or left the night before. 

  • Human errors and equipment failures

Equipment failures and human error can be tragic. Measures need to be put into place to minimise these issues. Things like checking equipment regularly and ensuring that workers meet minimum standards in terms of their training, but also subjective measures like how tired they are or how mentally stable on any given day. Employers need to take these into account just as much as how physically able an employee or contractor is.

How can we minimise these incidents?

The literature review identified ways to prevent crane safety incidents in the construction industry. These are also good guides to minimise wider incidents too.

They suggested businesses need to:

  • “Clarify the roles and responsibilities of workers conducting crane-related activities at the worksite, and the suppliers and subcontractors when selecting equipment and site planning.
  • Improve the training of people responsible for planning, coordinating and supervising lifting operations.
  • Improve the licensing systems to record crane operators’ competencies in using particular types or models of cranes.
  • Promote the adoption of new and emerging technologies to improve crane safety.”

 

How Beakon can assist with safety management software

It goes without saying that no safety management software can completely minimise the risk of an incident occurring on site. However, safety management systems and incident management systems like Beakon can help  to improve safety measures and reduce risk.

Beakon can help you assign roles and responsibilities, keep track of permits to work and education, and promote training automatically so that no one gets left out. All while offering a mobile solution that is accessible anywhere.

Don’t take the risk. Talk to us about how we can help you manage on-site safety today!

Safety Management Systems: Aviation Must Haves

Safety Management Systems: Aviation Must Haves

Safety Management Systems In Aviation

At Beakon, we work with clients from the aviation industry, where our safety management systems are used to apply safety principles, framework and processes. The aim of a safety management system in any industry is to to help prevent accidents, injuries and to minimise other risk. 

Within aviation it is especially important to have these systems in place, as it can be a higher risk environment. We’re looking at the 12 components of a safety management strategy as outlined by CASA which can help businesses understand their obligations.

gray and white airplane on flight near clear blue sky

What are the standard safety management system (SMS) frameworks in Aviation?

Civil Aviation covers private and commercial flying and is governed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in Australia. CASA outlines the standard framework for safety management systems which feature four components and 12 elements.

CASA notes that a SMS must be scalable, and fit for purpose. This is where a cloud based system like Beakon is essential, allowing multiple workers to access information remotely and save their records online. 

CASA Safety Management System Guidelines

The four main categories of a safety management system are:

  • Safety and objective
  • Safety risk management
  • Safety assurance 
  • Safety promotionairline about to land on ramp

Then within each category there are key points that need to be addressed. These include:

  • Safety policy and objectives

    • Management commitment and responsibility
    • Safety accountabilities
    • Appointment of key safety personnel
    • SMS implementation
    • Contractors/third party interfaces
    • Coordination of emergency response planning
    • SMS documentation
  • Safety risk management

    • Hazard identification
    • Risk assessment and mitigation
  • Safety assurance

    • Safety performance monitoring and measurement
    • Internal safety investigation
    • The management of change
    • Continuous improvement of the SMS
  • Safety promotion

    • Training and education
    • Safety communicationblack vehicle control panel

How does Beakon address these needs?

A safety management system like Beakon allows businesses to stay on top of the above requirements and continually improve their safety procedures. As mentioned, it is not just minimising incidents, but preparing for them and training staff to minimise their likelihood. Beakon software has all bases covered.

Repeatable and reliable risk assessment as part of the safety management system

One of the most effective ways that businesses use Beakon software is to carry out repeatable risk assessments. Our risk assessment software allows you to repeat processes for repeat jobs and set reminders so that you never get complacent.

Some of the most popular elements of the risk assessment software are:

  • A digital and embedded risk matrix

Use the Beakon default ‘out of the box’ matrix or your own business risk matrix, to drive consistency in risk rating.

  • Identification measures for high-risk work

Ensure high risk work is managed appropriately with early identification and management.  Risk Assessments help capture the need for permits and additional licensing.

  • Control measures with automated notifications

Reminders and escalations for control measures help drive action and close out prior to the commencement of any work.  Prioritise work by the due date and risk rating.

Want to learn more? Start a free trial today.

How construction software is reshaping the industry 

How to use safety software to manage incidents in the workplace 

How to manage incidents in the workplace

Wondering how to manage incidents in the workplace?

When encountering a workplace incident, there are a few requirements in order to report it accurately. The most important thing is not to panic. Reporting correctly can make all the difference – especially within the legal sphere. 

Types of incident

An incident is not necessarily a major injury or event. Importantly an incident can actually be a smaller signpost to a larger problem that might develop into the future. 

There have been four main types of incidents highlighted:

  • Near misses

    Situations where people could have been injured, but, luckily nothing came to pass.

  • No harm events


    Operational risks that all staff across an organization should be made aware of.

  • Adverse events


    These kinds of incidents are related to medicines, medical devices, and vaccines.

  • Sentinel events


    These are unexpected events that result in any type of harm

So, what should you do when you encounter an event?

Take action

It is best practice to have specific team members who’ve been allocated to take responsibility in case of an incident. This is useful to bypass the natural reaction when something happens: panic. 

The action that needs to be taken can vary from emergency to emergency, but the main thing is that there is an allocated person who can make sure it happens right away. 

Report the incident

Reporting the incident is the part of the process that ensures all the correct authorities stay correctly informed. Reporting protects employees from any future consequences that could happen as a result of the incident.

According to the statutory requirements, it is essential to report the following:

  • Fatalities
  • Injuries that require hospitalisation
  • People exposed to chemicals
  • Major spills or environmental hazard

Ensure the incident documentation is secure

Now that the event has been reported, it must be documented in the most secure fashion. 

The best solution is to use an incident reporting system, which can order, store and manage all documents associated with the incident. This system is a secured centralised repository, much more effective that paper-based safety statements which can still be found in use.

Investigation

Once the incident has been dealt with, and the report secured, it is good practice to assess the root causes of the problem. An investigation should be made so that preventative measures can be put in place to minimise the risk of it happening again.

This analysis, if carried out correctly, should identify any underlying issues that will help you manage incidents in the future.

Once you’ve investigated, you can then: 

Develop corrective actions to manage incidents

In the aftermath of many incidents, a lot of organisations report with a lag. Then, they forget all about it. Acting in this way is irresponsible and hinders any further investigation and work that might refine a better future response.

Corrective actions help to discuss what might have been done better, so that future accidents are preempted. Looking at the actions that can be corrective, to better predict and prevent these kinds of incidents occurring is a vital part of an incident reporting process.

Future steps to manage incidents at work

Reporting the incident is only the first part of the process. It is very important as an initial step, however the most important part happens after. The challenge for businesses is to assess the reasons for its occurrence and put in place preventative measures.

Incident reporting systems are the most proficient method to manage and report workplace accidents, so that the safety of workers is kept paramount. 

 

Online Safety Inductions: Are They Effective?

How Do I Monitor Work Health Safety?

How to manage Work Health Safety

Workplace injuries don’t just cost people’s safety. They cost organisations a lot of time, money and productivity as well. This risk is heightened if the correct policies are not maintained. That is why Work Health Safety policies are the best measure to prevent injuries. 

Furthermore, legislation requirements within WHS in Australia need to be managed carefully. So it’s essential, as an employer, that you implement and monitor these WHS policies:

Keep employees informed about WHS policies

At a fundamental level, it is the responsibility of the employer to keep workers safe. Keeping them informed about the potential hazards in the workplace is the best way to do this.

There are multiple methods of providing this information:

  • Provide you WHS policies and procedures as printed documents which they are expected to read, understand, and sign.
  • Produce instructional manuals
  • Publish reports – such as hazardous material reports.
  • Provide specific training workshops
  • Or diffuse the information electronically via an integrated WHS management system.

Whatever medium you choose to communicate safety information, it’s recommended that you use a professional and empathetic approach and voice. You might even want to create employee-led forums where questions and concerns can be aired. 

Do A Training Needs Analysis (TNA)

Running TNA helps you uncover the gap between the necessary skills and the current knowledge level of workers. It is the beginning of the process of ensuring employees have the capacity to perform their role safely and effectively.

TNA can be carried out by using various techniques:

  • Using feedback from supervisors
  • Questioning the team about their work tasks
  • Directly observing whilst workers perform their task
  • Referring to employment records
  • Conducting formal interviews

Once you have completed the analysis, and targeted what employees need to know, you can start to create a training plan.

WHS Training   

Many instances of injury or accident can be prevented through the implementation and monitoring of WHS training programs. Training programs are a brilliant way to provide WHS knowledge. And, by using Learning Management Systems, you can tailor training modules to best suit your employees needs… 

Effective training programs instil the relevant knowledge, but also instills within workers the skills to actively monitor their work procedures and report any abnormalities that might be a cause of danger. 

When in the development phase of training, consider:

  • All the correct legislative and regulatory requirements 
  • Making suitable provisions for specific job task training
  • Hazard identification, risk control, incident reporting procedures
  • Consulting all the relevant parties that will be using the program

WHS Record maintenance  

Maintaining and updating the workplace health and safety records requires an effective system. With this in place, you can ensure that all the organisation’s records are kept correctly and continuous with the current WHS policies. 

Remember, all these steps have the prevention of life-changing injuries as their foundations. The safest sites to work on have good site records, providing a knowledge of what has gone on in the past, and how best to keep from similar incidents occurring again. 

Because of this, all employers are required to provide proof of these steps. And this is an ongoing process of compliance. 

Records are best kept electronically, using audit software, which allows them to be accessed, updated and shared much more quickly.

Collaborate to manage WHS policies

Despite the huge role safety software can play, there is still a lot to be said for engendering a culture of safety in the workplace. This is where collaboration between different teams and departments is a cornerstone. 

Make sure to utilise various different strategies, such as meetings and in-person training alongside your electronic WHS program. This will have a positive impact on the outcomes of your program. Focus on the entire organisation’s culture, not only on the nitty-gritty of single parts of the workplace. 

Most importantly, make sure the WHS information you are providing is correct and gives your workers the best chance of staying safe in their place of employment.

5 Easy Ways To Improve Your Safety Practices Today

Digital Permits To Work: Why Ditch The Paper?

Why Choose Digital Permits To Work?

Is your business behind when it comes to digital permits to work? With the digital revolution in full force, there is no better time to go paperless and start saving all your important documents online.

Digital software can help your business create, sign off and file important paperwork like permits to work. 

Here’s why so many businesses choose to use an online permit to work system.

What are the benefits of digital permits to work?

There’s never been a better time to move from a paper-based way of working to a digital one. Going paperless has numerous benefits for both your business and the environment.

Some of these include:

  • Minimise your business’ carbon footprint

Rising CO2 levels contribute to global warming. When we continuously use huge amounts of paper for things like permits to work and other paperwork, we contribute to the rise in CO2. 

The more trees we chop, the more carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere. But by moving to a digital system, you’re able to minimise this use of paper, and do better for the environment. 

  • Get access anytime, anywhere with digital permits to work

When using a paper-based system, only one person can access the document at any one time. This can be a nightmare if you’re trying to work with people across multiple sites or trying to get a document to someone in a hurry.

With a digital system, multiple people can access documents in real-time. This means that people can get access to important permits to work anytime, anywhere.

  • File and save documents more effectively

How many times have you been looking for a paper document, only to find that it’s gone missing? This is a common occurrence for businesses operating on paper systems, and it can often get them into trouble. Especially where permits to work are concerned.

With a digital permit to work system every permit is safely filed away, making it ideal for audits. Plus, anyone with access can pull up permits to work at any given time, giving your team a comprehensive view of their workforce.

  • Speed up approvals with electronic signatures 

There is nothing worse than business being held up because people don’t have the right to work. With a digital permit to work system, your business will be able to make important approvals with electronic signatures.

This can save you time and money as a business, and take the pressure off your people who will get frustrated if they’re held back because of paperwork. 

  • Customise your documents easily

Every business is different, and every site will have different hazards. These all need to be taken into account on a permit to work, in order to approve a person to work with certain risks. This means that every individual may need a slightly different permit to work.

Customising work documents isn’t always easy in paper form. You have to edit them, print them, sign them, scan them etc. There is so much that goes into it, that often businesses just use a template that never changes for their permits to work. This is not good.

With a digital permit to work system, businesses are able to quickly and easily edit forms to include specific hazards and risks. This can encourage a much safer workforce, who have signed off on the site specific risks.

  • Prove compliance with an online trace

Digital permits to work make audits easy, and ensure that if you have to prove compliance, you can pull the relevant records up quickly. This is not true of paper based systems, which can fail when it comes to compliance. Paper filing leaves a lot of room for human error.

In contrast to this, digital permits to work won’t be marked as complete until both the employee/ contractor and the employer or manager have signed off. With digital permits to work you can prove compliance and ensure that everyone does their bit. No more half completed paperwork. 

Businesses can gain better control of their site with permit to work software that boosts compliance and makes life easier. 

Why are safety management systems essential in the Rail Industry? 

Permits to work in the Railway Industry

Ready to investigate permits to work in the Railway Industry?

Whether you’re a business looking to improve compliance, or a Railway Industry Worker (RIW) wanting to learn more about worker requirements, you’ve come to the right place.

What is a permit to work in the railway industry?

Permits to work in the Railway Industry are multidimensional. There are multiple permits to work for Railway Industry Workers (RIW), which cover Work Health & Safety (WHS).

These kinds of permits are usually issued online by the employer, and they help to ensure that everyone is qualified to do their job and has the relevant experience to start work. They record the qualifications, training and experience that makes an individual suited to working in a specific high risk environment. 

They’re known as permits to work, or e-permits to work, and sign an individual off to work on a specific task. They are vital for employers to keep on top of their safety on site, remain compliant and keep their people safe. 

Slightly different to the individual’s work permit, are permits for businesses that are issued by the Railway provider themselves. These give an organisation the approval to carry out said work on the Railway. Then, there are also RIW cards for workers which are set out by the Railway and approve someone to work on a specific railway.

At Beakon, we are primarily concerned with permits to work created by businesses for their workers. We specialise in electronic permits to work systems for businesses operating in the Railway Industry. These systems provide a way for businesses to issue permits to work online to their people.

Railway Industry Tracks

What does a permit to work require in the Railway Industry?

A permit to work in the Railway Industry must detail the works that will be carried out by the individual, the hazards that are present, and the qualifications or training that makes them suitable.

They will need to take into account added risks and hazards that come from working in such a high risk Railway environment.

The permit issued by an employer should include:

  • Applicants name
  • RTO Name, National Provider Code / RTO Number of appropriate training
  • The specific work the applicant is authorised to carried out
  • The time and date of the specific work being carried out
  • Risks or hazards and their control measures 
  • Name and / or signature of both issuer & applicant.
  • Document / Certificate / Number.

To create this permit to work, many businesses opt to use software. Similar to other industries, an online permit to work system will:

  • Issue Permits to Work.
  • Carry out permit approvals.
  • Audit records and deliver permit history access.
  • Work on all devices, including smartphones and tablets.Working on the Railway

Above And Beyond This, Workers Need RIW Cards In Most Cases

While a permit to work will help a business cover their back, often having a Railway industry Worker Card is an essential for any individual working on the Railway. This is a requirement of the individual, but businesses should do everything in their power to check and audit these records to ensure that untrained people never work on the rail network.

The Rail Industry Worker program went live in March 2013 and is owned by the Australasian Railway Association (ARA). It complies with national rail safety law by providing proof of competency for every individual working on the railway.

Workers can apply for a RIW card which identifies them as a competent worker. Any employee or contractor working on the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM), Country Regional Network (CRN), Aurizon and Queensland Rail will all require a Rail Industry Worker (RIW) card.

For businesses operating on Railways that use RIW cards, it is important that you set up your team with RIW cards, as they must be ordered by a Primary Employer. Once this is complete the worker will need to hand over the digital copy of their RIW for you to store. You can also request a physical RIW, but as they are essential documents that need to be kept very safe, digital copies are often best.

Signing off a permit to work

Businesses Also Need A Permit To Work On Railways 

It’s not just individuals and workers who need to consider permits to work when working on Railways. Businesses also need to abide by the permit to work regulations of the individual Railway provider, to ensure that their work is being carried out safely and legally. 

Each state will have their own Railway regulations regarding the permits to work necessary. However most of them concern excavations and working with live equipment. As they are such high risk areas, Railways need businesses to submit permits to work prior to starting.

For example in Victoria, there are strict regulations for third parties working on railways.

Metro Trains, the Melbourne Railway provider states that third parties “must not undertake any excavation/ground disturbance within five (5) metres of a VicTrack Telecommunications Asset without a VicTrack approved Permit To Work”.

They are also limited when working with live equipment. They state that “work must not commence until a Permit to Work Near (PTWN) has been issued to the PTWN holder on site.”

For businesses working in the Railway Industry, it is essential that these forms are completed and filed correctly before work commences. Often, permits to work in the Railway industry will take time to approve, so it is recommended to get them in early and then file them digitally so that they don’t get lost or damaged.

There’s a lot of Permits Needed To Work on the Railway

Long story short, there’s a lot of permits required to work in the Railway industry. Some of the most important ones for employers to know about are the permits to work that grant employees access to work.

Beakon can help you create, audit and file permits to work to keep your business compliant. Are you ready to get started?

Permit to work construction

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Permits To Work In Construction

Work Permits In Construction 

Electronic permits to work in construction are becoming more and more popular.

Permits to work are essential in a range of industries, but especially those which have multiple sites. Construction companies are synonymous with ‘multiple sites’, so it’s no surprise that business owners in this space are learning about ePTW.

While the traditional permit to work model was paper-based, you often hear the term e-permit to work or ePTW now. This is because as technology has advanced, so has the way that businesses issue permits to work has gone digital. That means bye bye paper and hello software like Beakon that issues and manages permits to work.

But first, here’s 5 things you might not know about permits to work in construction.

5 Things You Didn't Know About Permits To Work In Construction

A Permit To Work In Construction Can (And Should) Be Site Specific

Most businesses issue permits to work based on the role, not the site. This can be a huge error, and best practice in construction is to alter your permits to work based on the specific challenges of that site.

Why? Because there are often specific risks that are associated with a certain location or project, and this needs to be covered off in the permit. Permits should ensure that work can be completed safely, so making them site specific is the best way forward

Permits To Work Don’t Need To Just Be For High Risk Tasks

Often permits to work will be put in place for tasks where there is a high risk to safety. This might be where people are working at height, working with restricted access or working with contamination or biological hazards. This is a great use of permits to work in construction, and should be carried out as a priority.

But don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security – businesses shouldn’t issue permits to work ONLY for high risk tasks. Any task that involves a risk, however small, can require a permit to work and if you want to get your safety procedures in order, the more permits to work you can create the better.

Understanding who is carrying out tasks that involve risks, and having a record of their qualification can only be of benefit to a construction business.

man in white long sleeve shirt and blue denim jeans standing on white metal ladder

Contractors Need Permits Too

Many people don’t know that contractors must have permits to work too. This is where ePTW can come in really handy, as they can collate data from people who aren’t part of your company. Having their information on file is an obligation as part of WHS.

Often contractors movements can be harder to manage – so having their permits to work on file is essential. There is nothing worse than a contractor turning up for a job and realising that they don’t have any of the required paperwork. But with an e-permit to work, construction contractors are able to pull up their permit on their mobile.

Roof Access Is One Of The Biggest Risks In Construction

Falling from height, namely a roof, is one of the biggest risks to construction workers. SafeWork Australia found that over the eight-year period from 1 July 2003 to 30 June 2011, 232 workers were killed following a fall from a height. This amounted to 11% of all workers killed over this period. 

The risk of falling from the roof is higher than you might think. But because falling seems like a simple risk, often people underestimate how deadly it can be. Contractors and employees often think that they’re qualified to get up on a roof, when they’re not.

Permits to work in construction help to reduce the risk of falling from a roof, taking into account things like the person’s experience with roofs, the weather conditions they’re able to work in and the safety of the roof in question.

two men working

Construction Managers Should Look At Historical Records 

While managing permits to work in construction is often done in real-time with the benefit of technology, managers should regularly audit records. With an online software system, team managers can regularly go back over historical permits to work data and look at who was on site, what work they carried out and whether they had the permits in place to do that work.

You can’t turn back the hands of time if someone has worked without a permit, but you can look at how it happened and try to minimise errors in the future.

Managing permits to work in construction

Are you looking to manage your permits to work in a more effective way? Discover why a more effective permit to work solution is required for any construction site in our handy article.

Alternatively, you can get in touch today to start a free trial and see how much easier life is with a seamless permit to work solution that takes the hassle out of issuing work permits in construction. 

E-permits to work in mining

E-permits to work in mining

Everything you need to know about e-permits to work in mining 

Mining is a thriving industry in Australia. With so many mining businesses working with staff split across different locations, having technology that aids safety procedures is very helpful. Technology allows team members to communicate effectively from afar, and ensure that paperwork like permits to work are valid.

An e-permit to work or electronic permit to work system offers new ways to manage work safety and get documents to the right people quickly.

No more hold ups due to lack of paperwork, and no more compliance issues from missing or lost permits to work. Imagine if your team could validate and issue permits to work from the palm of their hand, all while creating a digital trace to cover their back? 

Well, they can with e-permit to work software. Here’s everything you need to know…

aerial photography of dump trucks

Mining is a high risk industry where permits to work are vital

Mining is a very high risk industry, whereby people need permits to work to ensure their safety on site. With so many roles that require specialist training, mining sites can be a recipe for disaster if permits to work aren’t properly monitored.

The process of extracting minerals from the surface of the Earth is high risk, and involves being both underground and working with heavy machinery. This makes the need for permits to work even more vital.

yellow and white excavator on rocky mountain during daytime

Geographical challenges make paperwork a hassle

Not only is mining a higher risk industry than most, but it also has unique geographical challenges. Mining sites are often split across various locations, with people who manage and sign off permits to work not necessarily being on site at any given moment. 

This means that workers sometimes get into sticky situations where they need permits signed off quickly, by someone who isn’t necessarily on site at that moment. This can cause all kinds of problems, and without the help of technology, workers can be put in compromising positions.

This is where e-permits to work are vital for the mining industry, and can enable businesses to maintain health and safety measures and provide people with a safe place to work. They help mining businesses stay on top of their permits even when they are geographically spread out.

red and black truck in tunnel

E-permits to work solve mining-specific problems

E-permits to work are ideal for a variety of industries, but arguably mining is one of the industries that benefits most. This is because they solve many problems for mining businesses, including:

  • Issuing permits across various sites.
  • Minimising permit delays that cost mining businesses money.
  • Allowing people to sign off permits digitally, in real time.
  • Signing off rights to work with hazards, temperature risks, dangerous fumes, electrical hazards, mechanical hazards, height dangers and many more risks that may be posed by a mining environment.
  • Providing a digital trace that enables businesses to cover themselves in the event of an accident.

white and black airplane on brown sand during daytime

Incomplete permits to work can cost more than just time and money

Ultimately, the main thing you need to know about online permit to work software, is that without it you may be putting your people at risk. In a mining environment, a paper-based system is no longer regarded as the best way to monitor permits to work.

Incomplete, late or missing permits to work can cause businesses a lot of time and money, and have legal implications. However, the major risk of incomplete permits to work in a high risk industry like mining is serious injury or even death of your people.

Thankfully, as technology has developed, fatalities within the industry have fallen. In 2003, there was an average of 12.4 worker fatalities per 100 000 workers, and in 2015 that had dropped to 4.4 (Safework Australia). This is still significantly higher than other industries, but it goes to show that as technology develops, we are finding new ways to develop safety protocols.

For those businesses who are still lagging behind and working with a paper based permit to work system, it’s really time to reassess and consider an eptw system. Not only because your business will save time and money, but because it will protect the health and safety of your people. This should ultimately be of utmost importance.