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Former Member

The National Safety Council provides that statistic and also estimates that the average direct cost for an accident is around $200,000US.  Indirect costs are around $1,000,000US for disabling events or $62,500US for each a non-disabling incident.  If this is happening in a developed country where regulations are very strict, what would these numbers look like in other countries?  There are various causes from just shear accidents to poor safety management.  This should be on everyone’s mind to make this better, simpler.

Sophisticated to stone age

Almost all facilities worldwide have buildings, generators, transmission lines, substations in some type of CAD system that can be pulled up at a moment’s notice, flipped and turned in any direction, dissected, resected and put back together – even on mobile devices.  Why is it then that paper still rules during any shutdown, turn around or outage (STO)? 

Take work permits as an example, still mostly paper-based, still difficult keep track of, especially in complex situations that take months or years to complete.  Information is incorrectly transcribed, staff work on equipment for which they are unauthorized, permits are lost and tags are incorrectly labeled, updated or removed.  All this and more result in millions of lost revenue due to extended downtimes and, unfortunately, loss of lives in some situations.  Is it that we can’t do it, won’t do it or see no value in integrating something as simple as electronic permits into the whole process flow?

You will always need to print the tag for a visual queue to get someone’s attention help them see that someone is working on that piece of equipment.  Getting an integrated process to get to that point is where we need to focus to reduce accidents, time lost, production lost and lives lost.  So, what should you look for in an e-Permit to Work system?

An overview

Let’s start with who needs to be involved. To start there are four people involved in the process: Permit Applicant, Permit Issuer, Permit Approver and Permit Holder, the one who actually does something with the permit.  These are all understandable functions and should have specific steps to apply, review, approve, activate, extend and close a permit.  The process should be able to handle thousands of permits for simple maintenance issues across many facilities to a large, long-term, STO process.

What needs to be added are the ‘systems’ involved.  These are everything from Hardware like process and plant design, to plant layouts and protection systems.  Next you have Software components around built-in processes and procedures, regular audits, maintenance cycles and management systems.  Lastly, and importantly, your people have to have a safety culture and motivation to keep themselves, colleagues and communities safe. When you look at all these components: people, processes and technologies, it is easy to see how safety can be lost in the mix.

Where to Look

Detailed evaluation criteria for e-permitting systems can be found governing bodies like Great Britain’s HSE, the US’ OSHA, Australia's OH&S to name a few.  Each country has their own Commissions, Departments or Councils to regulate safety.  Each state, county, province, prefecture and city adds to those safety regulations.   It is a full-time job to keep up with all these regulations, sometime many full-time jobs!

What can be done?

SAP has recently released an e-Permit to Work solution to help manage
this process better, make it simpler.  It is the first of three solutions that integrate several disconnected functions into one: Permits, Lockout-Tag Out and Permit-Risk Integration.  It takes a mostly manual now and integrates standard software configured in a way to begin to address saving lives and reducing costs.

What is in the package?

The e-Permit to Work solution has a comprehensive set of deliverables, some of which are listed below;

  • Configure Type of Permits (Hot and Cold) as per ISBN
  • Configure Validity details for Hot cold work permit
  • Configure Permit applicant details
  • Configure certificate list
  • Configure Initial Gas test recording template
  • Configure PPE (Personal protective Equipment list)
  • Configure Safety precautions
  • Configure Hazard Considerations
  • Configure Tools and Equipment
  • Two Standard  layout  for both Hot and Cold work Permits as per
    ISBN 0 7176 1281 3
  • User status list configuration (Without controls)
  • Standard report enhancement  (One)
  • Standard role configuration as per ISBN 0 7176 1281 3

E-Permit to work is a ten week implementation that can quickly get you on your way to meeting safety requirement, reducing time lost due to errors, and, most importantly, save lives.  For more information contact Maurizio Cattaneo, Global Head of Utilities Services Delivery,  Krishanu Bhattacharya, Global Head of Oil & Gas Services Delivery or David Moyer, Global Lead for Energy & Natural Resources Service Portfolio Management.

Let's start doing something about this today by implementing tools to save lives around the world.  If you start today you can have a solution up and running before summer.