Workplace safety: The work permit in the digital era

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Companies make considerable efforts to ensure the safety of their operations and to protect the health and safety of their employees. Among all the control and prevention measures implemented, the work permit system is a key tool for managing workplace safety.

Work permits often generate frustrations for EHS


A work permit is a document that specifies the task to be performed, the associated hazards and the security measures to be implemented.

In terms of form, work permits were traditionally in paper form or office file format. The disadvantages of this format limit its overall effectiveness. Indeed, as EHS we are often confronted with frustrations related to this process:

  • Loss of productivity: Generating work permits requires many hours of form filling, label writing, printing and travel to assign permits. It is a long and complicated process that reduces productivity.
  • Accessibility: Site verification is generally very difficult and sometimes impossible, especially when it is a multi-site company. It’s hard to check in real time whether safety requirements are applied and respected on the site.
  • Traceability: the risk of paper loss and deterioration, traceability and security due to different work activities are common.
  • Reactivity: Delayed reporting, sometimes even loss of information, will delay the search for an effective solution to the problem encountered.

The consequences of these constraints can be dramatic, the frequency and severity of workplace accidents are closely linked to safety management on construction sites.

In the oil and energy sector, for example, issues related to safety and risk management are crucial. Inadequate work permit procedures have contributed to devastating industrial accidents in recent years, such as explosions, gas leaks and fires in some companies around the world (see Health and safety executive report).

So can we make it easier to manage work permits? In the digital era, companies chose to implement the digital work permit.

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What is a digital work permit?

First, let us explain what we mean by a digital work permit system. I often hear people think of this as simply using a computer as a means of generating and printing a paper version of a work permit rather than manually doing it in the form of a paper-based work permit.

A digital work permit is way more than that, it provides a consistent and effective visual interface for work management and monitoring and allows for quick and efficient decision-making.

It provides users with complete visibility regarding the status of all permits (even from other remote sites), making it easier to manage security instructions and take action against risks. Furthermore, the digital work permit helps to automatically identify everything that has expired. For example: authorizations and training of staff or late work permits.

In practice, what are the operational advantages of a digital work permit compared to the paper version?

Digitized work permit: the benefits


As mentioned above, the manual preparation of work permits can be tedious and time consuming with the risk of information loss.

There are so many potential benefits of choosing the digital work permit, here are some examples:

  • Decrease of time required when planning permits:thanks to drop-down lists, already configured in the system, it is possible to select the operations to be carried out, the authorized persons and the controls to be carried out in one click. An important time saving at this stage.
  • Faster work permit approval: There is no longer any need to move to another place to validate permits. Approval is done remotely from data and planned elements on the system. This will also allow to save time.
  • Faster decision making:Instant access to information recorded on the system improves control and visibility of both planned and ongoing work. Real-time analysis of this data can even, under some circumstances, prevent an increased security risk. This allows for proactive measures to be taken to avoid an incident.

Simplify OHS compliance work

In the end, digitized work permit is a very effective option for many companies where permits are regularly requested. Digitization offers many benefits, both in terms of the efficiency of operations and in the collection of valuable information.

One criterion not to be overlooked in choosing such a solution is to ensure that it complies with the company's OHS requirements and provides a high level of user-friendliness.

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Digitize permits to work with the Bluekango solution.

 Digital HSE