ComplianceJune 01, 2021

Mobile and Paperless Permit to Work: Draft Permits in the Field

The move to completely paperless operations is a good one: your business helps the environment recover while also saving costs on printing and lost time thumbing through paper files.

Now, take a look at your permit to work process. Where can you cut out more of the paper from there? Companies with completely paper-based systems will benefit from moving to a digital system. Though even after digitalizing, supervisors, operators and maintainers may still find themselves shuffling back and forth from the permit office to update the central system, paper in hand.

A good example is when hazards and controls need to be assessed in the work area before authorizing a work permit.

It is challenging to accurately capture the work area’s hazards when the risk assessor is sitting behind a desktop computer in the permit office. In this scenario, the risk assessment will be done in the field with hand-written notes and then entered back into the central permit to work system to authorize the permit further.

A mobile permit to work app can help here. If the user could draft the permit in the field, the app would guide the permit requester through an accurate risk assessment of hazards and controls directly on the handheld mobile device. The risk assessment is done directly in the place where the work will happen, and no one needs to shuffle back to the permit office to update the system with those paper notes anymore.

Let’s take a look at this and other advantages of drafting permits without paper:

  1. Draft permits directly in the field – Directly talk to the area techs in the field over what the coming work will involve. Because the equipment and its surroundings can be directly observed, you can be sure that you are choosing the right kind of work permit for the job, which will correctly determine for how long the permit will be valid and give an indication of the job’s risk level.
  2. Check hazards and controls on site – Without paper notes, the hazards of the job are checked off directly in the mobile app. Then, the risk of the work is accurately updated using the site’s real conditions, depending on what the user observes on the work site.
  3. Review SIMOPS in real time – All simultaneous operations, potential equipment conflicts and potentially affected areas become more obvious when standing directly in the place of work.
  4. Save on walk time – Instead of shuttling back to the permit office to update the system with a new risk assessment or job hazard analysis, the work permit is accurately assessed from the beginning and ready for further authorization. Saving on walk time means gas measurement and isolation planning activities can get started right away, without needing to go back to the permit office.
Tina Amirtha
Product Manager at Wolters Kluwer | Enablon
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