In previous posts we have discussed what a permit to work actually is and then how e-permits helps enforce health and safety policy on the ground.
This post will focus much more on the benefits of e-permits and, in particular, what our clients cite as the benefits they receive from using e-permits.
Remembering first that, without exception, our best clients already had well defined [paper-based] permit-to-work processes in place and that their adoption of e-permits (an electronic permit-to-work system) was primarily to remove the disconnect between policy and what actually happened in their environment, then the headline benefits of e-permits are:
Contractor control: the organisation knows in real-time who is doing what, when, why and how in its building.
Compliance: e-permits ensure that no worker is subjected to any significant risk, and therefore fulfills an organisation’s legal obligations under sections 2,3 and 7 of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974, and The Management of Health and Safety Regulations 1999. They also ensure that organisations comply with the following legislation: regulations 4 and 5 of the Confined Spaces Regulations 1997; regulations 4,5 and 7 of the Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations (COMAH) 1999; regulations 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002; regulations 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 of the Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002, regulations 4 and 13 of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989; the Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999; regulation 8 of the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998; regulations 8 and 9 of the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations 2000; and regulations 19 and 22 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. It also prevents the organisation falling foul of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.
Reduced risks: the competence and insurance checks, RAMS management and Clash checks ensure that the right people, with the right skills, work to the right method statement, in the right place, at the right time. These automated checks and the transparency of the system has created a step-change in behavior that eliminates most of the avoidable incidents that cause harm, damage and waste. The supply chain now encourages their workers to adhere to the permit process because they know that their contract and extra works depends on an easily available H&S record. As a result the potential for injury to people (contractors, employees, visitors and members of the public) is reduced; damage to property also falls together with the disruption to business and compromised security.
Reduced costs: e-permits enables organisation to reduce their insurance premiums as many brokers offer a discount for use of e-permits together with removing legal fees and fines from potential incidents. Management time dealing with these types of incidents is removed allowing them to focus on the core business, and the organisation’s reputation is intact.
“All things being equal (i.e. good claims experience, acceptable business description, no adverse risk factors) I would reflect e-permits with a discount circa 5 per cent – 10 per cent.”A senior underwriter, AXA
In a recent survey of e-permits clients (both end-users and FM companies), the benefits of e-permits were ranked as follows:
Note that there is strong alignment with the headline benefits listed above. The major addition provided by our clients was the benefits afforded by e-permits through the provision of an audit trail. Clearly valued both from an internal (audit) perspective as well as on those unfortunate occasions where an incident does occur.
Impact of e-permits on legislation: e-permits has changed the legislative framework. Following several senior Health and Safety Executive personnel sitting on a health and safety awards judging panel, the HSE asked Banyard Solutions to hold a half-day seminar for their senior directors to explain how the technology worked.
They then re-issued HSG 250, their guidelines on permits-to-work. It now includes references to, ‘electronic permit-to-work systems’, in recognition of the new technology available.
The e-permits system is “such a fantastic method of working” said the HSE. “To work safely in any area of a construction site it is necessary to evaluate and control the activity in that area – yet the most common form of permit, a paper-based one, is unable to spot potentially dangerous clashes of activity. Banyard Solutions’ e-permit enables a request for work to be checked online against other requests, and screens the operative’s competency and training record against the work they are requesting to do. This is all managed against the construction programme to keep all activities on schedule. The only thing you have to ask is: why isn’t everybody doing this?”
If you’re interested in further information on how e-permits can help your business (not to mention helping you sleep at night), you can sign up for a demo (to the left), or contact us with other questions (up above) or simply subscribe to this blog to get new post notifications direct to your inbox (down below). Thanks for reading!