Paper-based permit to work systems have many uses, and for some they are an effective solution for the needs of a business, but when trying to meet the safety demands of large organisations who issue high volumes of permits, paper permits have their limitations and are becoming less and less sufficient.
Permit-to-work have been in existence for a long time as a means of implementing controls and health and safety policies. Permit-to-work systems have commonly always been paper based, until the emergence of electronic permit to work software in the last number of years.
One major issue that companies commonly come across from paper-based systems are incomplete permits. Allowing a contractor to fill in their own paper permit to work can leave an organisation open to many risks. By the very nature of having to fill in a paper permit, it is easy to leave important information out or to skip over a vital piece of data. A permit that has not been fully completed can end up exposing an organisation to workplace incidents, or worse, potentially accidents to co-workers, contractors, visitors or pedestrians. This is one of the failings to paper-based permit to work. Other examples of the dangers of incomplete paper permits include:
- If a paper permit is filled out incorrectly, it sometimes may still be used.
- It may fall into the wrong person’s hands and completed by that wrong person or even approved by the wrong person.
- Blanks may be left in paper permits and vital information may be left out.
- Getting permits approved by the right person can often be a very lengthy process.
- If a paper permit is misplaced, there is no record of the permit.
Making the move to an electronic permit to work system can reduce these risks. Electronic permits to work are filled out on an electronic system, typically on any internet enabled device, and can remedy any inefficiencies attached to paper permits. Electronic permits to work can be designed so as they will not be submitted or issued if all relevant information is not provided, and by the right person or contractor. Questions relevant to specific jobs can be made mandatory to answer on the system, so this eliminates questions being skipped or left out.
An electronic permit to work helps to reduce the lack of visibility between health and safety policies and what is happening in an organisation. It does so by providing transparency and offering more compliance with EHS policies, being significantly easier to use and an increased performance when managing risk assessments, insurance documents, qualifications and overall day-to-day activities.
Having a cloud-based electronic permit to work system allows users to access to the system from any location on multiple devices. This provides ease of use for managers, contractors and the workforce.