‘Establishing a Safe Work Environment’.
One of the key principles of the Wellsite Permit to Work (WPTW) System is that the Wellsite Permit Authority (WPA) has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring work can proceed in a safe manner, including the establishment of a safe working environment.
By issuing a ‘permit to work’, the WPA is allowing a specific range of activities to be done (the Scope of Work) in a specific area of the wellsite (Location) during a specific time period (Duration). In accordance with the duty of care under relevant work health and safety legislation, they must ensure that hazards and risks associated with that work have been identified and either eliminated or controlled.
An important part of ‘establishing a safe working environment’ is identifying any sources of hazardous energy and making sure they are adequately controlled (using Work Precautions). In some cases this will mean isolating those energy sources, securing those isolations, and verifying their effectiveness.
What about the role of the Permit Holder (WPH)?
The WPH is responsible to ‘maintain a safe working environment’ at all times while supervising work being done under a permit. This may include them being involved in the isolation of plant, or this might be done by others, however the WPH should have the effectiveness of isolations demonstrated to them before they sign on to the Permit, or before they direct the Work Party to commence work.
One of the reasons for the briefing of the Work Party by the WPH is to make sure that everyone working on the job is aware of all hazards and risks and is confident that effective controls have been put in place to allow the work to be done safely.
Ultimately, it is the WPA that is responsible to ensure that all work precautions, including effective isolations, have been implemented and verified.