The dangers of incomplete permits to work

The dangers of incomplete permits to work

Work permits are an essential part of maintaining health and safety measures and providing your team with a safe place to work. Not only that, but they help you remain compliant and stay on top of the ways that people are working within your organisation.

Non-routine tasks normally always require a work permit, whereas more routine tasks may not. The need for a permit can also depend on the person carrying out the task and the ways that these tasks might impact health and safety. 

The goal of a work permit is to outline what is expected of the individual and ensure that more hazardous tasks are always carried out by people who know what they’re doing. From both a health and safety and a legal perspective, permits to work are essential to the day to day running of a business. Take a look at the main dangers of having an incomplete work permit, and what that could mean for your business.

1. Your people won’t know what is expected of them

One of the main benefits of a work permit is that you can provide documented work instructions including details for specific locations, departments, time of day etc and get these signed off by the employee or contractor.

In this sense, a permit to work provides a kind of guide that is agreed upon before work is completed. Without a complete permit to work, there is nothing to go back to and pull up as a kind of contractual agreement of what work is expected. If you don’t complete your permits to work, you put your business at risk of working with unskilled people who don’t know what they’re doing. 

Plus, if it does backfire (eg – they make an error and it costs your business) you won’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to claiming on insurance because you didn’t fully confirm that the person was able and they didn’t sign off on what is expected of them.

2. You won’t be working in a compliant manner

Compliance is a major reason that permits to work exist. If you don’t issue them correctly and fully, you put your business at risk of operating outside of legal requirements. Safety policies are put in place to keep everyone safe – stakeholders, workers and visitors included – and without a work permit your business is essentially ignoring guidelines.

Working in a non-compliant manner can have all kinds of implications on both a legal and moral level. Ensuring that permits to work are complete will give you the best chance of working compliantly and minimising the risk of error.

3. Without permits to work you put your team at risk

Permits to work exist primarily to keep people safe on the job, and without these permits you put your people at risk. This is not only morally problematic, but it makes you liable from a legal and insurance perspective too.

Without a complete work permit, you put your team at risk of:

  • Material hazards, such as Hazardous Substances and Dangerous Goods
  • Temperature risks, including being ill-equipped to work in hot or cold locations
  • Dangerous fumes
  • Electrical hazards
  • Mechanical energy hazards
  • Hazardous areas
  • Height dangers
  • Radioactive substances
  • Many, many more risks that can be posed

What should a permit to work include?

In order to ensure that your permits to work are complete, it can be beneficial to have an online system that notifies you of where you are in the process. This way, you can avoid any miscommunication, loss of paperwork and general difference of completing permits to work.

With a simple to use permit to work software, you will be able to define what your permit to work will cover, describe the precautions necessary and ensure that the individual carrying them out understands what is expected of them. You’ll be able to issue permits to work, deal with permit approvals, audit history of permits and allow sign off on any device including smartphones and tablets.

For more information on how your business could benefit from a permit to work system, get in touch today!