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Permit to Work process is a critical and mandatory process for asset intensive industry such as Oil and Gas, Utilities, Chemicals etc. The process ensures safety of maintenance workers while performing tasks in hazardous environment.

In the SAP S/4HANA world, this topic falls under Asset Management - Environment Health and Safety.

This blog post guides the SAP S/4HANA project team to implement Permit to Work processes using SAP work clearance management (WCM) module. Please note that this is not a detailed configuration guide nor a complete product information document. The focus of the blog post is to take you through a typical business process in oil and gas sector and understand the key configuration aspects to model the business process in SAP and lastly have a brief look at the user experience of WCM in SAP S/4HANA version 1809. SAP work clearance management will be referred to as SAP WCM in this blog post.

This blog post series is split into following parts:

  • Typical business process for permit to work (covered in part 1)

  • Key WCM Configuration to model the business process in SAP S/4HANA 1909 (covered in this blog post)

  • WCM User experience with SAP S/4HANA 1909 and beyond (to be covered in the third part)


Key WCM Configuration to model the business process in SAP S/4HANA 1909

Here's a recap of the business process we want to configure:

There is a malfunction in a pump in a refinery plant. To perform the maintenance activity (which includes welding) on a pump, a notification and order is created by maintenance department. Since the work is in an operational refinery complex, the maintenance team requires a work permit – which is a mandatory document to be issued before starting the work on pump. As per safety procedures, the pump has to be electrically isolated. Before job execution, safety controls should be implemented to ensure adherence to safety policies and standards.


This is what we need from a business point of view:


The above architecture is what we need to meet the business requirement for permit to work. Since maintenance activity involves welding job - Hot work permit will be required. Also, Isolations are required hence the need for Isolation Certificate.

System Architecture: This is how the system will be configured to meet the above setup:



The above architecture shows the technical setup for WCM to meet the business requirement.

Some important configuration rules to setup the above architecture:

  • Use WCM model "Enhanced model:

    In this IMG activity, you choose the model you want to use for your WCM. You can choose one model for each maintenance planning plant.

  • Use option " working with work permit": Work permit management assumes the enhanced model

  • In WCM, Permits are technically named "Work Clearance Application" and Certificates are named "Work Clearance Document". Define the descriptions for permit and certificates to meet the business meaning

  • Set up WCM "Usages" to segregate types of permit and types of certificate:

Setup Work permit types:

Setup Certificate types



The above setup enables the configuration required to meet the process requirement. Apart from the above configuration, here are some other important concepts in configuration:


Since this maintenance activity involves welding with isolation -  let's try to setup a multi level approval (meaning multiple users need to approve) for permit due to high risk involved in welding. Also, need to ensure that the permit cannot be activated unless isolations are executed. The below picture shows what we want to achieve:



The system configuration for the above requirement involves the following setup:

Cross document approval hierarchy: To enable the control between Isolation certificate and Work Permit, we will use this configuration. Essentially, we are trying to create a dependency between the approval in isolation certificate (meaning the isolation has been completed - approval step: "CONF1") and the final issue in work permit - approval step "ACTIVATED". This is how the setup looks in WCM configuration:


It is also possible to automate the approval steps - for example in this scenario it makes sense to automatically issue the approval step "CONF1" in isolation certificate based on the system status "TAGGED" for the isolation item. This is how the setup looks:

IN this example, approval step: "CONF1" in Isolation Certificate will be automatically set based on system status " TAGGED"


To conclude, this is second part of the blog post series on Implementing Permit to Work with SAP WCM in SAP S/4HANA. The above configuration gives the permit to-work SAP S/4HANA project team members insights into technical settings related to the complex business process of welding activity.

The third part of this blog post series will focus on the WCM User experience with SAP S/4HANA 1909


Source of images: all pictures and images created by the author. System screen shots taken from SAP demo landscape.