What is a Work Permit and Why is it Required?

Work Permit

Table of Contents

Work permit is a document or written permit that is used to control certain types of work that could potentially endanger workers. A work permit is required to identify the work to be performed, the potential hazards associated with the work to be performed, and any preventive or control measures.

Work permits are also usually equipped with supporting documents such as job safety analysis (JSA) and a checklist tool box. Examples of jobs that require a work permit are jobs that require workers to enter and work in confined spaces, activities to repair, maintain or inspect electrical installations, and operation of heavy equipment.

What is the procedure for making a work permit?

Work permits are usually made in duplicate or in triplicate. When duplicated, one copy is kept as documentation and another copy is provided to workers. Meanwhile, for work permits that are made in triplicate, the third copy is kept by the company’s occupational health and safety management for audit purposes, whether the work permit requirements that have been applied have been fulfilled or not.

Work permits must be made before workers start work deemed hazardous. Work permits must be handed back to the person in charge (who issued the letter) when changing shifts or when the work is completed.

In making or issuing a work permit, workers or supervisors must also be careful and thorough, because many of them are not yet competent to understand the importance of work permits being included in the health and safety program in the workplace.

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Who is authorized to issue work permits?

Work permits are issued by supervisors or implementers to subcontractors or foremen or workers who are about to enter dangerous areas or carry out work deemed dangerous. Before granting a work permit, the supervisor or supervisor or implementer will usually conduct an inspection of the following:

  • Worker health
  • Complete work facilities and infrastructure (including PPE related to the work to be done)
  • Recent conditions at the job site, whether there are things that are dangerous or not
  • Matters related to Occupational Safety and Health (K3) at the work location.

If the results of the inspection show that there are no matters that could endanger the workers and the work location is declared safe, then the work permit must be signed by an authorized person (authority person) and the worker involved in the field.

When is a work permit required?

work permit

A work permit is required if:

  • The work is carried out by the contractor
  • There is a potential for oxygen deficiency (oxygen deficiency) or excess oxygen levels
  • There is a potential for a flammable or explosive atmosphere
  • There is the potential for extreme temperature or high pressure
  • There is exposure to hazardous and toxic chemicals
  • Entering confined spaces
  • Working at height
  • Carry out repair, maintenance, or inspection of electrical installations
  • Performing activities to repair or maintain equipment or in locations containing hazardous materials or conditions
  • Carry out excavation activities
  • Operate heavy equipment
  • Perform activities related to rotating or moving machines
  • Carry out activities related to radioactive materials
  • Perform activities to lock or isolate hazardous energy sources
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What types of work permits are usually issued before starting work?

The type of work permit is determined based on the nature of the work to be performed and the hazards that must be controlled or eliminated. This is because one type of work permit does not always apply to various activities and work locations. The following types of work permits are most often used in the workplace:

Hot work welding machine

  • Hot work permit – Required when doing hot work, for example: welding, fire cutting, metal drilling and sandblasting.
  • Cold work permit – Required if you are going to carry out work related to repair, maintenance, or construction work that is not routine (according to the terms of the job) and does not use equipment that can cause open flames or sources of ignition. For example painting, building work, and civil works.
  • Confined space entry permit – Required if you are going to enter and perform work in confined spaces, such as silos, tanks, or closed drains.
  • Electrical work permit – Required if you are going to carry out repairs, maintenance or inspections related to electricity.
  • A special work permit (special permit) – Required if a job involves hazardous conditions, such as working with exposure to radioactive materials, working at heights, excavating, or carrying out other work with a high level of potential hazards.

How long is the work permit validity?

  • A work permit must be made specifically and only valid if the conditions of work do not change. Work permits are usually brief, lasting 8 hours or one shift, and are valid for no more than one day. The timeframe specified in the work permit usually starts from 07.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. local time or the working hours applicable at the place.
  • If the work environment changes (rain, shift changes, etc.), the work permit must be checked again according to the current working environment. The previous work permit must be replaced with a new work permit or if there is a change in the environment it is deemed that it does not significantly affect work safety, then the work permit can be reused.
  • If work in progress requires an extension of time beyond the time specified in the work permit, you must update it and be authorized by the job supervisor at the location.
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From all the explanations regarding work permits, it can be concluded that a work permit is an effective tool to help identify and control hazards, prevent injuries, and avoid fatal accidents in the workplace. All workers must understand the work permit requirements and why a work permit is required before starting work. Hopefully this little information can be of use to you. And thank you.

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About the Author: Andres Ina Rivai

Good work is always to follow good and precise procedures. Don't forget that safety and health at work are always the top priority

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