Operation management in complex process plants such as major hazard facilities are regularly called upon to make decisions that balance the production and safety requirements of their organization. The process-based rules commonly used in manufacturing and process industries are permit to work systems, risk assessment and job safety analysis.

Job Hazard Analysis or Risk Assessment is a safety management tool in which the risks or hazards of a specific job in the workplace are identified, and then measures to eliminate or control on those hazards are determined and implemented. More specifically, a job safety analysis is a process of systematically evaluating certain jobs, tasks, processes or procedures and eliminating or reducing the risks or hazards to as low as reasonably practical (ALARP) in order to protect workers from injury or illness. It focuses on the relationship between the worker, the task, the tools, and the work environment. As the term ‘job safety analysis’ is not restricted to only identification of hazards, but the implementation of controls (Mitigation plans) and verification of the effectiveness of those controls, the term ‘safety’ will have a more appropriate meaning in the context of assessment of risk in a job. A JSA is a task oriented risk assessment which can be applied by a work team prior to undertaking a potentially hazardous activity. Risk Assessment is a planned procedure in which all hazards in the workplace are identified and their Risk Potential evaluated. The Risk Potential is a combination of the likelihood with the severity if an accident did happen. The first step in any risk assessment is to conduct a hazard analysis.

A Permit to Work System is an important part of an Oil and Gas company's Safety Management System and a key component of a Safe System of Work. A PTW System helps to ensure that all work is planned, communicated, controlled and carried out in a safe manner. Permit-To-Work is a proven best-practice method to ensure safety on dangerous hazardous worksites. A permit is a written, signed legal document and is a means of communication between site management, plant supervisors, operators and those who carry out the work. The most appropriate type of permit is determined and used according to the nature of the work to be performed and the hazards to be eliminated or controlled.

Therefore, it should be emphasized, however, that a ‘permit to work’ is not a replacement for robust risk assessment & hazard analysis, but can help bring the risk assessment ‘to life’, at the sharp end, where it matters.

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