Filling the gaps – paper and digital in Permit-to-work

paper and digital in Permit-to-work

The Permit to Work System

Meet “Max Paperdo”

Max is a hard working professional but highly stressed and hassled. He is behind schedule, short of time and short of support. He survives on a legacy PTW system.

Meet “Lee Techwald”

Lee is also a hard working professional but highly efficient and relaxed. He is completing tasks, has time in hand and is well supported. He steers a digital PTW system.

The Shift Meeting

Max Paperdo has spent 2 hours preparing for shift morning (& evening) meeting
His time is spent:
  • Reviewing pending permit approvals
  • New permit requests
  • Tracking permit status’
  • Tracking closures & suspensions
  • Preparing daily permit reports

Lee Techwald has completed his shift handover meeting in 15 minutes

His time is saved since he:
  • Gets ‘one click ready’ reports
  • Easily reviews and revalidates permits
  • Has click ready access to permit status
  • Seamlessly conducts handover


Max has no clue about work conflicts and SIMOPS

While going through all paper permit forms, Max has very little or no knowledge about work going on around the site. This leads to many complications, conflicts and confusion related to multiple agencies working on same systems, sub-systems or equipment. It also carries a significant amount of risk and he’s aware of it. He invests a lot of time in leafing through all the permits to check for work conflicts

Lee gets ready and accurate references of SIMOPs

Lee gets alerted at the time of approving a permit on any system, sub-system or equipment where there are possibilities of SIMOPs. He is able to review the conflicting permits and take relevant measures. Since he uses a digital application, he is able to enforce isolations, control measures and operational protocols through the mobile app itself.

Communication transparency

Max does not have any idea about the status of requested permits (Approved/rejected?)

Max doesn’t get to know whether permits have been rejected or suspended. He knows only when he is informed by someone about it. Such communication gaps can also lead to serious incidents at the workplace.

Furthermore, he is unable to trigger communication alerts or channels so that stakeholders are alerted immediately.

Lee sees the status of permits almost in real-time

Permit status is updated as soon as it moves from one stage to the other. Communication histories, recommendations and comments are mentioned and readily accessible by stakeholders. They get alerted in case of permit suspension or rejection.

Permit Audits

Max conducts a permit audit and finds something amiss. But because communicating is difficult, he gets frustrated.

In case of a non-compliance, the usual procedure is to suspend work and inform stakeholders. Since communicating these uncertainties to stakeholders is cumbersome, Max generally gets frustrated.

Even the remedial measures that are identified at the time of audits have to be recorded on the field itself. They have to be communicated to the respective stakeholders and tracked to ensure closures.

Lee on the other hand is able to communicate at once and alerts stakeholders of non-compliances.

Mobile App allows permit auditor to conduct audit using a pre-defined checklist. One can also report suspended permits (even use images captured) if found non-compliant.

Once remedial measures (CAPAs) are identified, they are automatically assigned to the respective authority for taking action. Safety rules (protocols) were applied in the customized mobile app. Hence, tracking of CAPA is done by the app itself.

Shutdowns & Projects

Expansion projects, shutdowns & emergencies are a nightmare for Max.

Shutdowns, expansion projects and side construction jobs invariably involve new contractors and new workforces. The work-flows or operational processes are also new. These contractors end up running around in circles, without knowledge of it. Onboarding contractors becomes a huge problem for Max.

Further to this, he hardly gets any references of any past work or permits for similar projects. There are high chances of communication errors which could lead to devastating consequences.

Lee finds all required information & procedures for shutdowns & projects in under 10 seconds

Automation allows Lee to easily onboard new contractors. Since the digital system doesn’t allow by-passing of safety procedures, there is high safety performance on the work site.

Permit references are available using smart search since all data is centrally located. Since communication is automated, there is hardly any need for Lee to remember who is to be informed or communicated to for these jobs.

High frequency work permits

Max is frustrated with the company’s new rule of raising permits for all activities

Max knows that raising more permits is in fact beneficial to him as well as the company. However, permits raised for low-risk routine tasks have to be filled again and again by Max. Although nearly 70% of the information to be provided in the permit form remains the same, he has to start from scratch every time.

Lee welcomes the company’s initiative to raise permits for all activities

A template is created for high frequency permits raised for low-risk routine tasks. Lee accesses the template and fills in just the variables. Almost 70% to 80% of the form is pre-filled, thereby, reducing his effort and time.

Increased Productivity

Max Paperdo is working very hard and trying to get desired results for his company.

Max has worked in the legacy system for several years and has aced his work routine. However, he continues to spend extra hours and effort during uncertainties. He may be frustrated because of the complexities but has accepted it as part of his work.

  • Max finds it difficult to trace, monitor and track permit related non-compliances right up till closure. He is unable to close corresponding actions on time.
  • Owing to his legacy systems, Max is unable to identify the person accountable for closure of task leading to unwanted delays and loss of productivity

Lee Techwald works smart. He is proactive, progressive and exceeds expectations of his company.

Lee is the face of the new generation who is ready to leverage technology for achieving productive outcomes. His adoption of digital PTW system has only allowed him to:

  • Digitally store and readily refer to permit related non-compliances
  • Significant reduction in permit related non-compliances
  • Monitor progress of rectifications of non-compliances and track them up till their closure
  • Clearly see who is accountable for completing tasks

Accomplishing High Safety performance

Max Paperdo

Max has not seen any improvement (reduction) in near misses, incidents or accidents yet.

He has a few key areas of concern:

  • Closure of non-compliances not happening on time
  • No method for monitoring closures of non-compliances hence, zero accountability and visibility

Lee Techwald

Lee has directly seen improvements in safety performance because with the PTW software he is able to:

  • Ensure timely closures of rectifications identified for non-compliances
  • Achieve significant reduction in near misses, incidents and accidents owing to timely rectification & closure of non-compliances
  • Ensure visibility of actions taken
  • Ensure accountability


Disclaimer: All names of characters, organizations, geographies and other objects are purely fictional. They bear no resemblance to any person or organization, whether living or dead, whether active or inactive. Any and all resemblance to any person or organization is purely coincidental.

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