Isolations and Permit To Work (PTW) are complementary safety procedures that are often used together to ensure that high-risk work activities are carried out safely in the workplace. Isolations & PTW management are both essential safety procedures in industry, and failure to follow these procedures can result in serious injuries or fatalities.
The Isolations procedure involves isolating and locking out equipment or machinery to ensure that it cannot be operated during maintenance or servicing, while the PTW procedure involves obtaining permission to carry out specific work that is considered high-risk, such as hot work or working at heights.
In many cases, a PTW will require the use of Isolations to ensure the safety of workers during the work activity. For example, if a worker needs to carry out maintenance on a piece of machinery that involves hot work, they will need to obtain a PTW to ensure that the work is planned and carried out safely. As part of the PTW process, the worker will need to ensure that the machinery is isolated and locked out using Isolations procedures before commencing work.
There are several benefits of combining Isolations or ‘Lockout-Tagout’ (LOTO) and Permit-to-Work (PTW) management in one system, including:
• Improved safety: Combining Isolations and PTW management into a single system ensures that high-risk activities are planned and carried out in a safe and controlled manner. It reduces the risk of accidents and injuries by ensuring that equipment is isolated and locked out during maintenance or servicing, and that work is carried out in accordance with a standardized procedure, which reduces the risk of errors, confusion, or misunderstandings among workers, leading to more efficient and effective safety management.
• Streamlined procedures: Having a single system for Isolations and PTW management can simplify procedures, reduce paperwork, and minimize administrative tasks. It provides easier access to information about high-risk activities and can ensure that all workers have access to the relevant information, reducing the risk of misunderstandings or confusion and enabling decisions to be made in real time to avoid delays. It also provides a single source of information for safety incidents, near-misses, or hazards, allowing for more accurate reporting and analysis.
• Enhanced communication: Combining Isolations and PTW management can improve communication and increase collaboration between different teams and departments within an organization. It can ensure that all parties involved in a work activity, including maintenance personnel, safety managers, and production supervisors, are aware of the safety risks and procedures involved. When these management processes are digitised, communication is enhanced even further by being in real time with a permanent record.
• Improved compliance: A single Isolations and PTW management system can help ensure compliance with relevant regulations and standards, such as HSG250, HSG253, OSHA or ISO requirements. It can also help to identify potential safety hazards associated with high-risk activities. It can then ensure that appropriate controls are in place to mitigate these hazards, such as isolating equipment or machinery, using personal protective equipment, or following specific work instructions.
• Better accountability: A combined Isolations and PTW system can help to assign responsibility and accountability for safety management, ensuring that everyone involved in the work activity understands their roles and responsibilities. It can also improve documentation and record-keeping by ensuring that all activities are properly & permanently documented, including risk assessments, work permits, and lockout-tagout procedures; which can be essential in the event of an accident or incident.
In summary, combining Isolations and PTW management can improve safety, streamline procedures, enhance communication, improve compliance, and provide better accountability for safety management in the workplace. These benefits are enhanced even further by digitising the processes and combining them into one single software solution, as collaboration is made easier, data is available in real time and there is a permanent record of all data entries, changes & communication.
This is why IAMTech added an Isolations management module to their PTW software, IAMPermit, which enables end-users to associate a permit with an isolation and vice versus.