The Importance of Control of Work in Hazardous Environments

Imagine the complications that could arise from safety incidents at your company. They could lead to extended downtime and damage to your reputation.

Problems like these are one of the many reasons why 20% of small businesses fail within a year. Implementing proper control of work is essential for workplaces with hazardous environments, but not everyone understands how to get started.

We’ve put together a brief guide with the key information you need to know. Let’s explore what to consider when moving forward.

What Is the Control of Work Process?

As the name implies, this process centers around minimizing contingencies in the workplace. In context, it focuses on verifying permits to work and identifying contractor requirements. Employees should have no problem understanding safety procedures and staying within the established guidelines.

However, they should also have access to this information when needed. Otherwise, there will be an increased risk of workplace accidents occurring.

What Is a Permit-to-Work System?

The system helps establish that an adequate level of risk assessment has occurred for certain processes. It also denotes that the required level of controls have been put in place. This goes a long way toward making accidents less likely.

Permit to work systems exist in many forms, such as general best practices or company policies. The same can be said about industry regulatory requirements.

To establish the right permit-to-work system, you must assess the most prominent workplace for risks and establish safety protocol for each. Consider a scenario where you examine a factory assembly line. You’ll need to identify hazards and determine the most likely scenarios that could lead to injury.

It also involves identifying the scope of the project and its inherent dangers. In the aforementioned example, inherent dangers would exist in the form of injuries from using heavy equipment.

A key part of a permit to work system involves appointing authorized personnel to handle hazardous tasks. These systems are necessary because there are certain risks you can’t avoid in certain work settings.

Without them in place, your employees would have a greater chance of experiencing injury. Common examples include sparks from welding and working in confined spaces.

Who Needs a Control of Work System?

This is required in many different industries, but the most common are those that deal with hazardous processes. Manufacturing and construction are some of the most notable. Working with a professional can help you determine the type of system you should implement in your workplace.

Types of Work Permits

There are various work permits available that you can implement, and it’s crucial to understand which ones are the most relevant to your workplace. This will help you avoid issues you may have otherwise encountered. Listed below are some of the most notable.

Hot Work

This permit authorizes individuals to work with anything that can ignite a fire. It involves going through safety training and briefing on safety practices. Without this information, workers risk serious injury or property damage.

Cold Work

Processes that don’t involve ignition systems or fire are known as cold work. This term can apply to many situations, such as lifting heavy materials or tools, chemical cleanups, or working with scaffolding. A cold work permit should be relevant to the materials you work with, as these will vary substantially between different workplaces.

Electrical Work

As the name implies, electrical work permits will ensure employees work safely with electronics. These have inherent risks that you can’t avoid, so it’s essential to understand how to handle them appropriately. While it’s impossible to eliminate these risks, you can mitigate them with the right practices.

Confined Space

Canals, tanks, and vessels are common confined spaces that workers deal with regularly. However, confined space permits only allow personnel to enter and investigate these spaces. Different permits are required to conduct work in them.

Working at Heights

It’s not uncommon for work to take place at dangerous heights. This is especially true in the construction industry. Working at heights is also one of the most common reasons why employee fatalities occur.

Getting Started

One of the best ways to get started with this process is by using online safety data sheets. These allow you to clearly communicate safety procedures with your team.

However, not all online SDS providers are equal. It’s imperative to do your due diligence before making your decision.

Check their past reputation and see what other people have to say about their services. This will provide valuable insight into what you can expect. There should be no shortage of positive feedback.

However, it’s also important to pay attention to how they respond to criticism. If they get defensive or aggressive, you should avoid them at all costs. There’s a chance you’ll encounter the same behavior if you have a problem with them in the future.

You should look for fake reviews, as well. These are often posted in large batches and contain many of the same keywords.

Do they have a robust customer support policy? Dealing with issues that arise on your own can be frustrating, and it’s often difficult to overcome them. Their pricing structure is also important to consider.

You often get what you pay for, and it’s not recommended to go with the cheapest options you encounter. However, you don’t need to budget for the most expensive options.

There’s a point of diminishing returns regarding what you spend. With enough due diligence, you shouldn’t have a problem finding the right choice for your needs.

Never Neglect Control of Work

The information in this guide will help ensure you properly implement control of work and make the best decisions for your company. From here, you’ll have no trouble avoiding issues you may have otherwise encountered. Just be sure to find the right safety training provider.

KHA is a dedicated leader in safety data sheet management. We’ve proudly served the industry since 1985 and strive to exceed all customer expectations.

Our SDS management system is comprehensive and user-friendly, making it easy to get started. You learn about the many benefits we can provide when you get in touch with us today.