A Permit to Work System is used to control and co-ordinate overall work activity in high risk working environments. It is part of an overall safe system of work in determining how potentially dangerous jobs can be carried out safely. Regulations were introduced in the UK Offshore Oil and GasIndustry In 1976(1) requiring the implementation of Permit to Work Systems for certain specified activities. These set down some basic requirements. Over the years individual operators have builton these requirements and developed their own systems. These vary from very simple to sophisticated systems depending on a number of factors i.e. culture and size of company, amount and type of work activity on the installation and perceived risk levels.

Lord Cullen's report (2) into the Piper Alpha

Disaster highlighted a number of deficiencies in the operation of the Permit to Work System.

This paper will discuss the key elements which should be contained in a comprehensive Permit toWork System. In addition the paper will address the Permit to Work deficiencies highlighted in theCullen Report and the steps taken by the UK Petroleum Industry to address these issues.

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