Safety, Health and Wellbeing

Permit to work

Our role is to develop and assist in the implementation of the UWA safety, health and wellbeing programs in order to minimise the risk of injury, illness and property damage.

We provide consultancy and other services to promote best practice and legislative compliance in all University and related activities.

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The University recognises that activities undertaken in certain environments can be inherently hazardous to the workers' safety and health.

As such, the University is committed to ensuring that exposure to hazardous work environments due to hot work and entry into confined spaces is minimised.

Consequently, a Permit to Work is required for all work performed involving hot work and/or is in confined spaces.

The requirement for a Permit to Work includes work to be performed by departments and contractors. Permits to Work can only be obtained off one of the designated Responsible Officers listed below.

The Permit to Work Policy is split into two components dependent on the type of work to be performed, Hot Work and/or working in Confined Spaces, and the safety requirements of each. The same form requires completion for both Hot Work and/or Work in Confined Spaces, however different work practices and safety criteria need to be adhered to. Please see below for each Permit to Work system.

  1. Definitions
  2. Work not requiring a permit
  3. What is the Permit to Work system ?
  4. Permit procedure
  5. University Responsible Officers
  6. School Responsible Officers

Definitions

Responsible officer

An employee of the University who has been trained and authorised and has satisfactory knowledge of the hazards at a work site to be able to specify a system to eliminate, as far as reasonably practicable, the risks in a particular job.

Hot work

All work with the potential to create a source of ignition. This includes grinding, welding, thermal or oxygen cutting or heating, and other related heat producing or spark producing operations.

Confined space

Confined space is considered to be any area which, because of its location, contents and the activities performed within it, may be deficient in oxygen or contain flammable/toxic vapours and gases. It may be of any size. Confined spaces usually have limited openings for entry and exit, and unfavourable natural ventilation. They are generally not designed for continuous worker occupancy.

Confined spaces may include, but are not limited to:

  • Storage tanks, boilers, pressure vessels, silos
  • Open topped spaces of more than 1.5m depth, such as degreasers or pits that are not subject to good natural ventilation
  • Pipes, sewers, shafts, ducts and similar structures.

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Work not requiring a permit

Activities involving routine production and process operations including startup, changes in operational modes and shutdowns do not require a Permit to Work. Routine work includes first line maintenance carried out by operations personnel such as topping up oil/water or tuning controllers.

Normally, the activities of inspectors, surveyors, engineers, draftspersons and visitors will not require a Permit to Work, provided their presence in the operational area is approved in advance by the Responsible Officer and their activity does not interfere with plant or equipment, nor are they carrying potential ignition sources.

Work carried out in designated maintenance (for example, University workshops) and construction areas do not require a Permit to Work.

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What is the Permit to Work System ?

The Permit to Work System provides a systematic disciplined approach to assessing the risks of a job and specifying the precautions to be taken when performing hot work and/or working in a confined space.

The permit to work system:

  • specifies the work to be done and the equipment to be used
  • specifies the precautions to be taken when performing the task
  • gives permission for work to start
  • advises occupants of University buildings that work is being performed within their building
  • provides a check to ensure that all safety considerations have been taken into account, including the validity of permits and certificates and compliance to the University’s policies and procedures
  • provides a checking mechanism that all work has been completed to the University’s satisfaction.

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Permit procedure

Hot work

Commencement of work must not begin until the appropriate level of authority has endorsed the Permit for Work. The following procedure must be followed when an employee or contractor wishes to perform hot work.

  • The employee/contractor approaches the appropriate Responsible Officer for permission to work in an area requiring a Permit to Work (Hot Work).
  • Responsible Officer decides whether requested work requires a Permit to Work. If a Permit to Work is not required no further action is taken and the person can begin work.
  • If a Permit to Work is required the employee/contractor completes the Permit to Work form and submits to the Responsible Officer. Details provided on the Permit for Work includes work required, work environment and safety precautions (such as provision of fire equipment) that will be taken when preparing, performing and completing the task.
  • If a person is required to perform hot work alone they should possess a mobile telephone to enable contact to be made with them while performing the task. The telephone number is to be given to the Responsible Officer prior to the commencement of work.
  • When satisfied that the employee/contractor has provided sufficient information, safety precautions and is suitably trained to perform the task to specification the Responsible Officer issues the Permit to Work.
  • If required, the Responsible Officer notifies Central Plant to isolate fire detection systems by faxing the completed permit to fax number (+61 8) 6488 1038.
  • On arrival at the hot work area the employee/contractor notifies the appropriate person within the building/area that they have arrived to perform specified work. The appropriate person in the workplace is either the chief administration officer or departmental manager.
  • Prior to beginning work the employee/contractor ensures that there is no combustible material (such as paper, wood, gas bottles) near to their work that could lead to a fire with the introduction of the hot work.
  • Employee/contractor completes work as detailed in the Permit to Work and their contract/job specifications. This person is then required to remain at the work area for at least 30 minutes after work has been completed to ensure that there is no possibility of fire. During this period the employee/contractor is to clean up the workplace; contact Central Plant to reactivate the fire alarm and perform a final inspection of the workplace to ensure there is no possibility of fire or other hazards presenting themselves due to their work.
  • When leaving the work area the employee/contractor is required to advise the appropriate person within building/area that work has been completed and that they are leaving the building/area.
  • The employee/contractor returns the Permit to Work to the Responsible Officer once task has been completed.
  • The Responsible Officer signs the Permit to Work and files it for future reference, once he or she is satisfied that the work has been completed to job specifications and safety requirements.

Confined spaces

Commencement of work must not begin until the appropriate level of authority has endorsed the Permit to Work. The following procedure must be followed when an employee or contractor wishes to perform work in confined spaces.

  • The employee/contractor approaches the appropriate Responsible Officer for permission to work in an area requiring a Permit to Work (Confined Space).
  • Responsible Officer decides whether requested work requires a Permit to Work. If a Permit to Work is not required no further action is taken and the person can begin work.
  • If a Permit to Work is required the employee/contractor completes the Permit to Work form and submits to the Responsible Officer. Details provided on the Permit to Work includes work required, work environment and safety precautions (e.g. gas detection equipment) that will be taken when preparing, performing and completing the task.
  • At least two people must be present when performing work in a confined space at all times. They should also possess a mobile telephone to enable contact to be made with them in case of an emergency. The telephone number is to be given to the Responsible Officer prior to the commencement of work.
  • When satisfied that the employee/contractor has provided sufficient information, safety precautions and is suitably trained to perform the task to specification the Responsible Officer issues the Permit to Work.
  • If required, the Responsible Officer notifies Central Plant to isolate fire detection systems by faxing the completed permit to (+61 8) 6488 1038.
  • On arrival at the permit work area the employee/contractor notifies the appropriate person within the building/area that they have arrived to perform specified work. The appropriate person in the workplace is either the chief administration officer or departmental manager.
  • If required, toxic, hazardous or oxygen gas detection is to be performed prior to entry in the confined space and is to continue until all works have been completed in the confined space. The requirement of gas detection equipment is dependent on the type of hazards foreseeable in the confined space. Please speak with your Responsible Officer for more information regarding the requirements of gas detection equipment.
  • Employee/contractor completes work as detailed in the Permit to Work.
  • Employee/contractor advises appropriate person within building/area that work has been completed and that they are leaving the building/area.
  • The employee/contractor returns the Permit to Work to the Responsible Officer once task has been completed.
  • The Responsible Officer signs the Permit to Work and files it for future reference, once he or she is satisfied that the work has been completed to job specifications and safety requirements..

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University Responsible Officers

All Permits to Work are to be obtained from Responsible Officers only. The Responsible Officers at the University are defined by the type of area that the work is to be performed. These people include:

Foreman, Plumbing
(+61 8) 6488 2014
Supervisor, Electrical
(+61 8) 6488 2016
Supervisor, Painting
(+61 8) 6488 2017
Maintenance Workshop
(+61 8) 6488 2019
Manager, Operations and Maintenance
(+61 8) 6488 2047
Curator, Grounds
(+61 8) 6488 3812
Environmental Manager
(+61 8) 6488 3534

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School Responsible Officers

Should a department wish to perform hot work or work in a confined space that is not associated with the Facilities Management the Responsible Officer is a person nominated by the Head of School.

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