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Office of Risk Management

Environmental Health & Safety

Permit to Work

The Permit to Work system (PTW) provides a systematic disciplined approach to assessing the risks of a job and specifying the precautions to be taken when performing hazardous jobs such as hot work and/or working in a confined space.

PTW is a key element of the EHS Management System and managing risk, and shall be used to confirm that work is performed in a safe and environmentally sound manner. The PTW system utilizes a Permit form that requires review and approval prior to the commencement of work.

View the detailed program EHS Q-002 Permit To Work here.

Whom does the program apply?

Program applies to all SMU faculty, staff and service providers who work under contract for SMU at all facilities owned and/or operated by SMU.  This Program applies to all field operations and associated facilities in which SMU has significant control over operations.

A PTW is required hazardous work involving facilities, equipment, or systems/processes. Activities that require a PTW include, but are not limited to:

  • Excavations and Ground Disturbance including Drilling, Coring, and Cutting.
  • Hot Work
  • Confined Space Entry
  • Cold Work - non routine hazardous activities such handling of hazardous substances (e.g., toxic/corrosive chemicals, asbestos, etc.); Hot Tapping; Critical Lifts- Use of two cranes to tandemly lift; Lifts over critical infrastructure; Hydrostatic Pressure Testing Erected Scaffolding Work; Electrical Work - above 480v potential; and Utility Shutoffs.

Why is a Permit To Work Required?

As part of SMU’s Permit To Work Program, highly hazardous activities requires significant hazard controls to ensure all occupants will remain safe during work.

The purpose of the system is to reduce risks to an acceptable level for each job, and to verify that work between different teams working in proximity to each other is identified and that work is reviewed for potential EHS conflicts.

A permit is used to:

  • Identify the scope of a specific task and where the work will be conducted.
  • Communicate activities throughout the team.
  • Identify hazards and controls associated with the work task.
  • Identify the personnel who have oversight responsibility.
  • Identify the personnel performing the work.
  • Assign responsibility for various tasks.
  • Identify potential SIMOPS issues with other work activities through the PTW review meeting.
  • Identify energy isolations/lockout/tagouts that will be in effect for the work that is being conducted.
  • Verify adequate control over the return to normal operations.
  • Gives permission for work to start
  • Advises occupants of University buildings that work is being performed within their building
  • Provides a check to ensure that all safety considerations have been taken into account, including the validity of permits and certificates and compliance to the University’s policies and procedures

Program Authorities

Permit To Work Authority (PTWA)


  • Responsible for overall operation of the Permit to Work process.
  • Ensuring that the Permit to Work procedure is subject to regular monitoring and auditing, action upon the results of these audits to maintain the integrity of the system and proposing any recommendations for system improvement.
  • Selecting and authorizing the Area Authority, Issuing Authority, and Performing Authority to carry out their duties, as described in this program.
  • Ensuring that the training and competency standards, as defined in this procedure are followed and to satisfy himself/herself that the Authorities are competent in the PTW system.
  • Approval of Lessons Learned and audits.

Area Authority (AA)

Facility Manager, Project Manager, or equivalent with understanding of current or planned work activities in the area.

  • Responsible for the day-to-day management of the Permit to Work process within their defined area. The Area Authority is normally the Facility Manager, Project Manager, site manager, or equivalent, although any individual can be assigned this role. There can be more than one Area Authority at the site or premises.
  • Have overall responsibility for the safe control of Permitted work activities within their defined area in accordance with the Permit to Work system, including the issue of all Work Permits.
  • Ensure the appropriate level of risk assessment has been carried out for the task.
  • Liaise closely with the Issuing Authority when planning Permits, to ensure that appropriate controls are identified for each identified hazard.
  • Ensure all the agreed control measures are in place, confirm that the Performing Authority fully understands the scope of the task and that other members of the work party have been fully briefed via a safety Toolbox Talk or equivalent means of communication.
  • Provide the culture to “STOP the Job” if anyone feels unsafe or uncertain about any aspect of the task.
  • Approve isolation design, control isolation implementation and ensure the agreed isolations are in place prior to allowing an associated permit to be issued.
  • Ensure that the isolations are properly removed after completion of the work and cancellation of the permit.
  • Ensure that worksite inspections are carried out before, during and after the performance of each task (some of this task may be delegated to a competent direct report).
  • Ensure that adequate handovers take place at shift change, crew change or other change out/over of Area Authorities, Issuing Authorities, and Performing Authorities.

Issuing Authority (IA)

The IA may be the Lead Technician or Supervisor responsible for normal operations within a particular discipline. The IA shall be an individual with additional training and understanding of safe practices.

  • The IA may be the AA. If not the AA, the IA will support the AA in the safe control of work activities.
  • This position is responsible to the AA for the management and safety of all activities within the designated area, including the issue of a PTW.
  • Must be available to be onsite for the duration of the Permitted task and confirm the job is performed per the requirements of the Permit, JSA, Safe Work Plan, risk assessment, whichever is applicable to the Permit.
  • Work closely with the PA when planning Permits to confirm that the appropriate hazards and controls have been identified for that task.
  • Confirm that all appropriate control measures are put in place prior to allowing a Permit to go live.
  • Confirm that the PA fully understands the scope of the task and that other members of the work party are fully briefed.
  • Authorize continuation of work where additional hazards are identified at the work site.
  • Monitor work time limits specified on individual Permits.
  • Restrict the number of Permits an individual PA manages at any one time.
  • Confirm all personnel working within PTW are appropriately trained.
  • Participate in and/or perform any Risk Assessment where required.

Performing Authority (PA)

Contractors and personnel performing work.

  • Initiate the permit process.
  • Identify and mitigate the hazards for the task being planned.
  • Participate in and/or perform any Risk Assessment where required.
  • Hold tool box meetings as necessary to ensure that all other persons involved in the task fully understand the scope of the work, the identified hazards and associated controls (and ensure that all participating in the task sign off the worksite hard copy of the Permit).
  • Provide the culture to “STOP the Job” if anyone feels unsafe or uncertain about any aspect of the task.
  • Ensure that only personnel authorized by the Permit participate in the work and no unauthorized interference takes place.
  • Ensure that if there are any changes to the initial Permit conditions the work is stopped and reassessed (Note: these include both changes in the work scope and conditions at the work site).
  • Report and interact regularly with the AA and IA on any issues related to the permitted work.

Permit procedure

The 9 Step Process:

The person responsible for planning the work shall allow time for the following actions for the safe

execution of the work.


  1. PA and/orIA Define the scope of work;
    • Confirm that all necessary precautions are defined, implemented, and maintained in place during the Permit validity period.
    • Identification of personnel and equipment required.
    • Identification of dependent and linked work.
    • Identification of SIMOPS and their compatibility with the work.
  2. PA will determine the level of risk assessment and authorization required.
  3. PA will review associated procedures including Risk Assessments / JSA
    • Define any Regulatory requirements.
    • Inspection of the work site.
    • Conduct a risk assessment of the task.
    • Implementation of control measures including isolations.
    • Arrange resources for the work.
    • Coordinate and prioritize work to reduce conflict between tasks.
  4. PA will complete sections 1-5 of the Permit to Work form and will supply the completed form to the IA/AA for review.



  5. The Permit(s) application is submitted by the PA to the IA/AA or PTWA for approval by end of business 5 days preceding the expected work day.
  6. The IA/AAwill review the completed sections of the PTW and authorize the PTW by signing Section 6 on the day of work, if work conditions are acceptable.
  7. The IA/AA will return permits to the PA to post at the worksite prior to work commencing. The Permit number will be logged and tracked using form QF-002-2
  8. PA will monitor the work conditions and contact the IA to close the permit if safe work conditions change.
  9. IA will close permit on completion of work. A copy of the permit is turned into the Office of Risk Management and logged.

How do I receive a Permit to Work in a Confined Space?

A  Permit may be retrieved at from the SMU Facility Managers, Project Managers, or from the Office of Risk Management or online here:

  • Hot Work
  • Confined Space
  • Excavation
  • Cold Work

Permit Duration

The Hot Work, Confined Space, and Cold Work Permits are 12 hour permits that are approved the day of the work being performed and closed at the completion of work with comments related to the day’s progress. A 12 hour extension may be granted by the IA and AA.  No more than two-12 hour shifts may be worked under the same work permit.

An Excavation Permit-To-Work is valid for 14 days.

Permit Log

Once a Permit is authorized, the Permit will be logged by the Office of Risk Management using form EHS QF-002-2.