permit to work system

What is permit to Work System on Ship?

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Permit to Work System

Based on the fatalities / casualties / accidents in the past the industry decided to introduce a system so that wherever there is a high-risk job taking place it is monitored / supervised properly and proper procedure has been followed fore the Job. This can be done by appropriate control measures put in place to protect those who may be affected. Permit to work System, is a formal record to confirm that control measures are in place when particular operations are being carried out.

On Ships, there are many types of jobs conducted on board ship. It may be possible that one person is working and doing his job diligently but it may inadvertently endanger the safety of another person who is unaware of the operation, or when a series of action needs to be taken to ensure the safety of people engaged in a specific operation.

In all instances, it is necessary, before the work is done, to identify the hazards and then to ensure that they are eliminated or effectively controlled. This is when Permit to Work System comes into play.

Permit to Work System is a document which sets out the work to be done and the precautions to be taken in doing it. It consists of an organised and predefined safety procedure to ensure safety of the persons actually engaged in the work.

It would be a good practise to do risk assessment along with the Permit to Work.

Which Jobs on ships require Permit to Work?

Permits to work would normally be required for the following work, but the list is not exhaustive:

  1. entry into dangerous (enclosed) space; 
  2. gas testing/equipment; 
  3. hot work; 
  4. working at height/over the side; 
  5. general electrical (under 1000 volts); 
  6. electrical high voltage (over 1000 volts); 
  7. working on deck during adverse weather; and 
  8. lifts, lift trunks and machinery. 

Principles applied in Permit to Work Systems

The safety management system of the company and also the respective approach of each individual working on ship will determine when permit to work systems should be used and how it is to be executed. The form of the permit to work system is Company specific and is different from company to company, but a standard format is mentioned in the Code of safe Working Practises (COSWP).

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In using a permit to work, the following principles should apply: 

  • The permit should state the location and details of the work to be done, should be relevant and as accurate as possible. The permit should mention the measures undertaken to make the job safe and the safeguards that need to be taken during the operation. 
  • The permit should have a period of validity (should not exceed 24 hours).
  • Only the work for which the permit is prepared be undertaken, and no other jobs should be done. 
  • The authorised officer should ensure that all specified measures as necessary have been taken, or procedures are in place and then sign the permit. 
  • It is the responsibility of authorised officer to keep a proper watch and monitored until the work completed and permit is closed or formally transferred it to another authorised officer. In later case the other person who takes over from the authorised officer, should sign the permit to indicate responsibility. 
  • The competent person responsible for carrying out the work should also sign the permit to indicate that he has understood the job, reporting time and the safety precautions to be observed. 
  • The competent person on completion of the work, should notify the authorised officer and the authorised officer should close the permit. 
  • The competent person carrying out the specified work should not be the same person as the authorised officer. 

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