Elements of an energized work permit

Last week we discussed why and when you would need to use an energized work permit.

Ok. So now that you’ve come to this point and decided you do in fact need an energized work permit how do you do one? And what are the key element of the permit? This is what we are going to discuss today. There are really three main sections that the permit should have, the request, the job analysis, and the approvals. Let’s go through each one in more detail.

There are really three main sections that the permit should have, the request for the work to be completed, the job analysis including associated hazards, and the approvals.

Let’s go through each one in more detail...

The Request

If you are an industrial electrician the “request” to do energized work on electrical equipment should always be coming from someone else. And nine times out of ten that request is going to come from operations. Whether you work in the pulp and paper, mining, or oil and gas industry the operations team rarely wants to shut down the process for any reason.

They will probably need some help understanding what circuit you need to work on and how to describe the work, but the justification needs to come from them.

The Job Hazard Analysis

There are several components to the job hazard analysis portion of the work permit. It’s really no different than any other job hazard analysis except at the end of it all you will be working on energized equipment.

Job procedure and safe work practices

Because of the high-risk nature of the energized work you are about to perform it is critical that each step of the process has been thought about and documented. If there is a procedure already developed for the work you are about to perform, then you can simply reference the procedure and attach it to the work permit. If not, you will need to take the extra time required and write out all of the steps for the job making sure to include any additional safe work practices required (check out our resource page and download the energized work permit, I've added a second page to write out the procedure steps).

Shock risk assessment

In order to determine the required rating of your rubber insulated gloves, and any tools that you may need to do the job, you have to determine the voltage level of the circuit you are working on.

Arc flash risk assessment

At this point you’ll need to determine what arc flash PPE is required for the job and at what distance will you need to set up barriers. If you’ve had an incident energy study completed, then go and get the numbers from the label. If you do not have a study completed, no worries, just follow the arc flash PPE category method.

Restrict access

When working on energized electrical equipment the last thing you want is a supervisor or operations foreman looking over your shoulder. For your piece of mind and everyone’s safety make sure you barricade the area at the appropriate distance (either the limited approach boundary or the arc flash boundary, whichever is greater).

Job briefing

Once you have all the necessary information compiled for the job hazard analysis take this time to review the work with all parties involved. Make sure everyone has their thinking caps on and is looking for any potential hazards that may have been missed.

Qualified electrical worker sign-off

Once you and any other the qualified electrical workers involved are happy with the plan and all agree that the work can be done safely you’ll need to sign off.

The Approvals

Because of the nature of the work to be performed additional approvals are required to ensure that there is alignment across the team.

Your organization can decide for themselves who will be the responsible parties to sign off but usually you would have an electrically competent person (maybe an electrical foreman or an electrical engineer), and someone from operations. But it really depends on how your organization is set up.

Example Permit

After writing this article I’ve decided to update the example form on our resource page. You can follow this link to get your copy now!

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