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What Is a Permit-To-Work? And How to Write One?

July 2024


A permit-to-work (PTW) is a formal procedure that officially authorises certain people to work on specific projects in a specified time frame. It is absolutely necessary for work that involves a high degree of risk to have a permit-to-work in place. The permit itself sets out the work that needs to be done and control measures that need to be put in place to complete the work safely. A risk assessment should inform this.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) says that a PTW system should include:

  • Identification of the job to be done.
  • The hazards involved in the work
  • Necessary control measures
  • The approval process.

It acts as a checklist, ensuring that all steps have been considered and that proper channels of communication exist before work begins. 


How to Complete a Permit-to-Work?

The key steps for submitting a permit to work typically tend to follow this format:

  • Identify the need for a permit. Determine whether it necessitates a permit to work.
  • Conduct a thorough risk assessment. Identify potential hazards, as this will determine what you’ll need to do to ensure the work is carried out safely.
  • Specify control measures. Clearly outline control measures you will put in place to mitigate the potential hazards.
  • Complete the permit application. The person who is responsible for the work (often a manager or supervisor) must complete the PTW form. Include the following:
    1. Personnel involved.
    2. The specific location.
    3. Equipment used.
    4. Potential hazards.
    5. Necessary control measures.
  • Await approval from a competent person, usually the site manager or health and safety officer. They ensure that all risks have been identified and reasonably controlled before granting permission.
  • Briefing and training. Everyone involved in the PTW should be briefed on its contents and the associated control risks and measures. They should then be trained on any specific procedures relevant to the task.
  • Monitor and review. The work isn’t done yet; you will need to continuously monitor the work to ensure compliance. Once the work is finished, a review should be conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of measures and identify any areas for improvement where possible.


Why Are Permits-to-Work Important?

Implementing a permit-to-work system in your organisation can significantly help to reduce accidents and ensure that the proper procedures are followed for high-risk work. According to HSE, there were 561,000 working people that sustained an injury at work in 2023/24. In addition to this, 35.2 million working days were lost due to work-related illness and workplace injury.

Developing a PTW system properly will ensure you are giving high-risk tasks the attention they deserve. It will go a long way to reducing the number of accidents and, therefore, the financial losses that are often incurred alongside workplace accidents


Creating Permit-to-Work Systems

Understanding how to create a system for PTW can be very challenging without proper training. We developed our Permit to Work course to provide practical answers and steps for people who need to know about PTW systems. Upon completion of the course, learners will understand:

Legal compliance and when permits are required.

  • Permit to Work and contractors.
  • Features of a permit-to-work system.
  • Permits to work for specific activities.
  • Roles and responsibilities for permits-to-work.
  • Operation of a permit-to-work system and isolation.

As a part of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers are required to provide systems of work that are “safe and without risks to health.” By enrolling your employees on the course linked below, you are fulfilling your legal duties as an employer.



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