Widely adopted in process plants to control work and improve safety compliance.
Chemicals and process manufacturing companies consider safety to be of primary importance to operate hazardous processes in a responsible manner. Safety is improved through management systems that emphasise the prevention of incidents and accidents, together with active controls when doing work in the plant. A strong focus on teams and the role of leadership in improving safety performance is prevalent across the industry.
Plant Clearances are used to control potentially hazardous work on processing plant. The plant clearance is prepared together with an assessment of risks, taking into account prior learning and the safety rules on site. These rules are developed having regard to the type of hazards present including high temperatures, toxic and hazardous chemicals, pressurised systems, working at heights and confined space entry as examples. The process of preparing a clearance considers all the potential risks, identifies hazards and specifies all precautions to be taken including PPE (personal protective equipment), isolations, stand-by response personnel and so on.
IntelliPERMIT is proven in process manufacturing
IntelliPERMIT was first adopted in 1995 in a biotechnology plant in South Africa to improve the safety integrity of work taking place by teams on hazardous process equipment. The system was modelled on the clearance processes pioneered by ICI in the 1980’s; and has been enhanced every year since.
The computerised “intelligent” rules engine links the risks associated with specific activities and process hazards. Competencies can be checked against training records and learning management systems. Working team site access and exit can be checked against the status of the relevant permit.
The system is designed to learn from patterns over time and the experience is therefore embedded in the system. Because the system is computerised clearances can be “aware” of related permits, work taking place in the same area etc. Clearances can be linked to maintenance work orders in a third party system and many customers link IntelliPERMIT to SAP planned maintenance.
Clearances can also be linked to plant data from the control systems to assess the state of the plant as an additional check. The computerised information greatly enhances the integrity of each clearance and significantly reduces risk when working in hazardous process plants.
IntelliPERMIT has been managing plant clearances in a biotechnology plant since 1998 with many years enhancements and learning now built into the system
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Shift handover and the permit to work
Shift handover is a a critical process that relies on effective communication in order to reduce the risk of safety incidents. The permit to work system must be coordinated with the shift handover procedures to ensure that jobs continue to take place under safe conditions, even when teams change.
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Work at height is a particularly hazardous activity which should be reduced by specific control measures that first tries to avoid the work altogether, and then if this is not possible, limits the risk through precautions. The permit to work is an important administrative tool to ensure safe work takes place at height.