Inside a Working at Heights Permit - Verature

Ascending New Heights, Safely: Inside a Working at Height Permit Template

Contractor Management Software

Working at height is a common task in various industries, from construction and maintenance to telecommunications and agriculture. However, it also poses significant risks if not managed properly. 

Recently a company found in breach of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 was fined £16,000 and was ordered to pay £4,462.59 in costs.1 The HSE found ‘…a lack of suitable controls for preventing falls’ and ‘inadequate planning’ behind a further incident, leading to fines of £12,000.2

To ensure the safety of workers and compliance with regulations, it’s essential to have a robust permit to work system in place. In this blog post, we will discuss what your working at height permit to work template should include to enhance safety and streamline the process.

1. Identification and Contact Information

Start your permit to work template with a section for identifying key information which includes:

  •  Project/Job Name: Clearly state the name or description of the task or project where working at height is required.
  • Location: Specify the exact location of the work, including site or facility details.
  • Date and Time: Include the date and time the permit is issued and when the work is scheduled to take place.
  • Work Team Register: List the names and roles of all individuals involved in the work.
  • Emergency Contacts: Provide contact information for emergency services and relevant personnel, such as a safety officer or supervisor.

2. Hazard Assessment

A comprehensive risk assessment is crucial for working at height. This should never be a general working at height risk assessment but specific to the task, location and conditions of the job in question. It might include an appendage to a separate risk assessment. Your permit to work template should include:

  • Risk Assessment: Identify potential hazards associated with the specific task, such as unstable surfaces, falling objects, or adverse weather conditions.
  • Risk Rating: Assign a risk rating to each identified hazard, indicating its severity and likelihood.
  • Control Measures: Describe the control measures that will be implemented to mitigate each identified risk. This may include using fall protection equipment, conducting regular inspections, or establishing exclusion zones.
  • Rescue Plan: Outline the procedures for rescuing a worker in case of an emergency while working at height.

3. Permits and Authorisations

To ensure that only qualified personnel undertake and oversee work at height, your template should include:

  • Permit Issuer: Clearly state the name and position of the individual responsible for authorising the work.
  • Competency Checks: Ensure that workers have the necessary training and certification to perform the task safely. Your permit template may ask the permit issuer to confirm this prequalification process has taken place prior to the permit being issued. A comprehensive system that includes contractor profiles for collating competencies, skills and records, such as Verature, offers a useful reference tool.
  • Permit Number: Assign a unique permit number for tracking and record-keeping purposes so you can easily retrieve permits and check authorised personnel.

4. Work Procedures

Your template should detail the specific procedures that must be followed when working at height:

  • Method Statement: Provide a step-by-step description of how the work will be carried out, emphasizing safety protocols.
  • Tools and Equipment: List all tools, equipment, and materials required for the job, along with maintenance and inspection requirements.
  • Safe Work Practices: Include guidelines for safe work practices, such as proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE) and adherence to industry standards.

5. Communication and Sign-Off

Ensure and enable clear communication and accountability throughout the process:

  • Communication Plan: Specify how communication will be maintained among team members during the task, including radio or hand signal protocols.
  • Signatures: Include spaces for all relevant personnel to sign and acknowledge their understanding of the permit’s terms and conditions.
  • Permit Duration: State the duration for which the permit is valid, when it will expire and any renewal requirements.

6. Monitoring and Reporting

Monitoring and reporting needs to be in place to maintain safety standards and regulatory compliance:

7. Emergency Response

Prepare for emergencies by including:

  •  Emergency Procedures: Detail the steps to be taken in case of accidents, injuries, or equipment failures.
  • Contact Information: List emergency contact numbers and locations of first-aid supplies and emergency equipment.

8. Review and Closure

At the end of the task, ensure proper closure and documentation:

  •  Review and Closure: Specify how the permit will be closed out, including equipment retrieval, debriefing, and documentation. This might include work evidence, confirmation that the permit issuer has checked the work, and confirmation by the authorised persons that they have left the area in a safe state.
  • Record Keeping: Establish a system for retaining records of the permit and associated documentation for a specified period. Reducing reliance on paper trails and keeping digitally stored versions of permits for longevity is why many companies now opt for digital permit to work systems.

9. Training and Awareness

Ensure that all personnel involved are well-informed:

  • Training Requirements: Include information on the training required for working at height and ensure that workers are up to date with relevant certifications.
  • Awareness: Emphasise the importance of raising awareness about working at height hazards and safety precautions. Online inductions may be utilised to help share important safety information with any attending contractors and work teams in advance of works.

10. Template Customisation

Make sure your permit to work template is adaptable, allowing for:

  • Editable Fields: Design the template with fillable fields so that specific information can be added for each unique job. Permit systems can be useful for this as, as well as restricting fields to select lists to ensure that correct data is inputted, they can provide any number of customisable field types to ensure all essential data is collected.
  • Version Control: Include a version number or date to track template updates and ensure that the most current version is in use. Opt for a cloud-based system to apply automated time/date/user stamps and an auditable log.

safety is paramount when working at height, and having a comprehensive permit to work template is a critical step in achieving it. Regularly review and update your template to reflect changing regulations, technologies, and best practices, and ensure that all employees are trained on its proper use. By doing so, you’ll create a safer working environment for everyone involved in tasks at height.

In today’s technology-driven world, digital solutions, like Verature, are revolutionising safety and compliance procedures, and the realm of working at height permits is no exception. Implementing a digital permit system can significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your safety protocols. With digital permits, information can be easily accessed and updated in real-time, ensuring that all stakeholders are on the same page. This streamlines the approval process, reduces paperwork, and minimises the risk of errors. Furthermore, digital systems often come equipped with automated reminders for inspections and permit expiration, improving compliance and accountability. Overall, embracing digital permit systems can take your working at height safety measures to the next level, allowing for more agile and responsive management of tasks carried out at elevation.

Enquire here for a guided demo on how the Verature permit system works.

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