Managing work performed by contractors with IntelliPERMIT

IntelliPERMIT allows you to effectively manage and monitor the work performed by contractors and work teams on site. The system ensures that contractors are only issued permits to work to perform activities and in areas for which they are specifically authorised.

IntelliPERMIT may be integrated with your access control systems in order to prevent contractors from entering unauthorised areas or from leaving the site without signing off outstanding permits.

 

Much of the maintenance and construction work done on an industrial site is done by contractors under supervision. Contractors differ from employees in that their work assignments are temporary in nature, are usually confined to a fixed scope of work and are related to a specialized discipline (for example welding, cleaning, civil structures, instrumentation, electrical work, maintenance etc).

Owing to the nature of the work done by contractors and their relative unfamiliarity with the manufacturing process  they should be regarded as a high risk group. Because contract assignments are temporary, individual contractors may not be as familiar with the specific site hazards as the full time production team might be. Contractors also often rotate between different sites on different jobs, and because hazards, rules and procedures differ from company to company a contractor might not be as familiar as they should be or even get confused by your specific safety requirements in relation to other sites s/he works on.

Duties of the employer

When potentially hazardous work is done on site it is the responsibility of the “employer” to ensure that work takes place safely. In practice the CEO of the site owner (representing the employer) delegates some of this responsibility to a resident site representative (normally the site engineer or production manager).  The site representative is therefore the person responsible for managing safety on site; and who must ensure that safety policies are always adhered to.

The permit as a communication tool

The permit is a critical tool to communicate hazards and safety controls to contractors on site. A such it is important that the permit system is designed to cater for the needs of temporary contract workers, and to be clear and easy to understand. In the event of a problem on site, the permit is evidence that the contractor has diligently followed all of the necessary procedures, and that the employer has also fulfilled all necessary obligations to ensure the safety of people working on the plant.

Other benefits

Aside from being a communication tool, a well implemented electronic permit system will have many other benefits for contractors. A few of these are listed below:

  • Because the electronic permit keeps a record of exactly what happens when, it is relatively easy to measure waiting and tool time for contractors (this waiting is often a point of contention).
  • Much of the preparation can be done ahead of the job while the contractor is still offsite. For example the contractor can apply for the permit in advance so that when they arrive on site the necessary preparations are completed and work can start almost immediately. This is a major productivity improvement over the traditional process whereby permits are applied for at the start of the working day and contractors have to wait in a queue for the preparations to then be completed.
  • An electronic permit system such as IntelliPERMIT can be configured with special rules for contractors, for example requiring additional levels of supervision by company representatives, requiring additional status information at the end of a shift and so on. This type of customisation is only really practical with a computer system.
  • When biometrics or access cards are used for identification, safety is improved by making sure that only authorized people can do work, and that they are in fact who they say they are when they arrive on site. This is particularly useful when there are large bodies of contractors working on site.
  • The electronic records will allow the employer to verify that the skills contracted for are in fact present on site.
  • Various electronic controls can be used to ensure that the contractors are in fact working on the correct equipment.

Conclusion

An electronic permit system such as IntelliPERMIT can be invaluable in managing contractor work on site. Improved productivity and controls on authorized persons are made possible through electronic verification of identity using for example biometrics or site access control cards.

The employer has a duty to ensure the safety of people working on site. The permit is the central controlling document for safe work in the field. It protects both the employer and the contractor to reduce the probability of an incident. The permit process also helps the employer delegate certain responsibilities to site engineers and others on site, and then to manage by exception. This assists improve overall discipline and reduce unauthorized acts on site both by employees and contractors.

Contractors who work on sites where there is a good permit system like IntelliPERMIT have reported that overall they feel that their safety has been significantly improved.

If you would like any further information on how IntelliPERMIT supports contractor management on site please contact the team at Adapt IT who have a great deal of experience in this regard.

Article by Scott Bredin

 

A survey done by Adapt IT of IntelliPERMIT users found that where the system had been implemented most contractors reported improved safety when working on site.
IntelliPERMIT is designed to work with site access control systems. This helps the employer manage when contractors can leave the site at the end of a shift once their work is completed and the relevant clearances are signed off. – SHIRLEY BREYTENBACH, SENIOR INTELLIPERMIT CONSULTANT

Picture of Scott Bredin
Scott Bredin
Scott has 25 years of experience in operational risk and control of work systems: developing, implementing and envisioning the future of these systems. Scott is passionate about using technology to keep people safe in complex and hazardous operational environments. 

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