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A permit-to-work (PTW) system is a written procedure to ensure that work does not start until a
responsible person has given permission for it to proceed. PTW are part of a safe system of work
and are normally used when the potential risk is high it details who may do the work and what
precautions must be taken.
Role of a permit
A PTW supports a safe system of work when it is necessary to:
Prohibit certain defined operations without the specific permission of a responsible
To carry out stringent checks before permitting a task to be carried out
To ensure that the people carrying out the task take responsibility for following and
maintaining the safeguards
To be very specific about the work that can be done and timescale.

Types of PTW
There are various types of PTW, these include:
Cold work permits
Electrical permits to work
Permits to work on pressurized systems
Asbestos removal permits
Permits to work on overhead cranes
Permits to excavate
Working at height permits
Permits to enter confined spaces
Hot work permits

Elements of a PTW
A PTW will usually contain:
A description and assessment to the task to be performed (including the plant involved
and the possible hazards)
Detail on any requirements to isolate sources of energy and inlets
Information on precautions required (e.g. atmospheric monitoring, PPE, emergency
The signatures of the person authorizing the work and those responsible for the work
A signing off section i.e. when the work has been completed the person responsible for
the work will indicate that the area has been made safe in order for the permit to be
cancelled by the authorized person, after which isolations can be removed.

PTW Principle
An effective PTW system need to be well organized, implemented correctly and monitored.
Competent persons need to be made responsible for operating and running the system, and
system users need to be involved in developing the system so that it is accepted and works
effectively. Permit paperwork must be designed to be clear, effective and simple to use. Persons
who issue permits, work under them, and monitor them to be competent, training must be given
if necessary. The organization must ensure that sufficient resources are made to run the system in
a safe and efficient manner.