Issuing Work Permits: What You Need to Know

A work permit is a written document that puts in place controlled measures to keep workers safe. It is a signed agreement between a company and its workers covering task location, work location, tools and equipment used and any hazard control measures.

A work permit system covers all the work permits used by an organisation to control workplace situations and hazard identification. Each site will have its own permit control system, designed around the tasks and activities being carried out.

To work under your own site permit system, you need to understand the regulatory requirements and the:

  • Types of permits
  • Frameworks relating to legislation and standards
  • Roles and responsibilities under the permit system
  • Equipment which can and cannot be used for each permit
  • Alternative ways of conducting a job

Who Needs a Work Permit?

Not all work involving risks needs a work permit. Before you issue a permit, you first need to identify the type of work and if a work permit is needed. First, consult with a permit issuer in the area, or check with the safety officer on site.

Next, take into account the processes, equipment and organisational procedures. All this information will allow you to decide if a work permit is needed and that the correct permit is issued.

Different Types of Work Permit

  • Confined spaces
  • Working at heights
  • Hot work (activities that could generate a spark or fire)
  • Excavations (digging pits or trenches)
  • Cold work/general permit to work
  • Vehicle entry permits (used when vehicle access is not standard)
  • Electrical permit
  • Increased hazard permit
  • Working alone (gives time for checking in)
  • Minor works or repair
  • Other special permits (eg; plumbing and gas repair)

Issuing Permits: Roles and Responsibilities

Each site will have their own roles and specified responsibilities regarding permits. These include:

Permit Authority/Issuer

The Permit Authority needs to understand the permit system, alongside the hazards and risks to be expected. Responsibilities include:

  • Identify the right permit/s for a task
  • Ensure conditions are documented on the permit
  • Ensure controls are in place before authorization
  • Confirm the permit holder agrees to the permit conditions
  • Undertake site inspections, work supervision, monitor work progress and ensure permits are current

Permit Recipient/Holder

This person is in direct control of the work task. Responsibilities include ensuring permits are processed and completed prior to the start of work.

Worker

The worker should review, understand and adhere to permit conditions. If site conditions change, they should report back and cease work if hazards cannot be controlled.

Final Steps in the Process for Issuing Permits

  • Carry out testing
  • Checking and implementing final control measures
  • Validating and authorizing the correct permit
  • Carry out regular inspections

Link Resources offers Permit to Work Training covering all the skills and knowledge needed to work in accordance with an issued permit. Contact the team on (07) 5491 2144 for more information.

5 Core Elements of Effective Safety Programs

Whether your business operates from a construction site or an office, a quality health and safety program is needed to protect employees. With the right knowledge, staff can confidently do their jobs without the fear of injury.

Research shows that $170 billion is spent each year by businesses, on costs associated with workplace illnesses and injuries. With the right health and safety program, these costs can be cut by 20-40%. Other benefits include better staff morale, increased productivity and an improved business reputation. Here are five core elements of effective health and safety training programs.

Educate and Empower Employees

Safety in the workplace starts with educating employees and empowering them with the right tools to deal with hazards that may crop up. Set aside time for health and safety training in each department, that includes engaging, hands on activities. Consider implementing a stop-work policy, empowering employees to stop performing a task if it becomes too risky.

Identify and Control Workplace Hazards

Once basic safety training has happened, systems need to be put in place to identify and control workplace hazards. For example, if staff will use machines in a factory, hazards such as handling machinery and what safety equipment is needed should be discussed before any work commences. While you can’t eliminate all hazards, steps can be taken to control situations and minimise risk.

Compliance with Local Government Regulations

Business owners have responsibilities regarding health and safety in the workplace. Regulations and codes of practice have to be adhered to in your state or territory. Best practices need to followed and are actually law. Following local guidelines is the best way to keep workers safe and reduce the costs of injury and worker’s compensation.

Ongoing Improvement and Auditing

Going through health and safety training once, then forgetting about it, is not the right approach. New employees need to be trained and old employees need to learn about updates and have refreshers.

There also might come a time when previous safety measures, just don’t work anymore. Aim for a full health and safety audit every year and encourage employees to speak up about any workplace concerns.

Leadership Training and Development

While training employees is important, ensuring supervisors and managers are setting good examples is equally important. Every day workers will be faced with safety decisions in the workplace and an effective leader should encourage and motivate good codes of conduct.

Great leadership starts with communication. Managers should have regular meets with staff, so everyone is on the same page. Incentives can even be offered for those following protocol.

Tailored Health and Safety Training for Your Business

Link Resources provides the best healthy and safety training to workers and organisations across Australia. On site and group bookings are available on request. Contact Link Resources for more information today.

5 Reasons First Aid Training is Essential

Human beings are susceptible to illness, injury and trauma. And the hard part is, we never know when an accident or illness may strike us down. We could be at work, at the shops, in a restaurant, at home or anywhere else.

This is why having trained first aiders is essential. The more people that have first aid training, the more lives can be saved, should an accident occur. Here are the five top reasons first aid training is essential.

Saves Lives

If an accident happens, a trained first aider can give the immediate care that could save a life. The longer a casualty has to wait, the increased chance of serious consequences or even death. While anyone might rush to help when someone injures themselves, a trained first aider has the expertise and confidence to do what is necessary quickly.

Relieves Pain

A small injury such as a sprain or strain, might just need a rest, ice, compression and elevation to start relieving pain and minimizing the injury. Trained first aiders know the best course of action to take, to make a casualty as comfortable as possible.

Inspires Confidence

Having a trained first aider in the building inspires confidence in those around them. In a work situation, this promotes a healthy environment for everyone, knowing they will be looked after if an accident happens.

Increases Safety

First aid training creates a safe environment for everyone, particularly at work when accidents are more likely to occur. The first aider will become more alert and aware of potential danger around them and how to make their surroundings safe. Prevention is better than cure and knowing what to look out for helps to reduce the number of accidents and casualties.

Prevents an Injury from Getting Worse

A trained first aider would be taught how to manage an injury and prevent the patient from deteriorating. The initial treatment administered, buys the patient time, until professional help arrives. The extra few minutes saved could literally mean the difference between life and death in extreme cases!

Where to Get Professional First Aid Training?

Link Resources provides first aid training, designed to give students the necessary knowledge and skills, to administer first aid in a range of situations. Face to face training and assessment is held at one of the Link Resources training facilities in Hobart, Brisbane, Adelaide, Devonport or the Sunshine Coast. Fill out the contact form to ask a question or request a brochure.

6 Hazards that Make Confined Spaces Dangerous Places

Working in confined spaces is a risky business. And unfortunately, some industries can’t avoid it such as mining, oil & gas and industrial cleaning. Your movement is restricted in a confined space, meaning you can’t always move as you would on the ground, should something happen. But with the right confined space training and knowledge, you know what hazards to look out for and what to do to avoid problems. This post details the six hazards that make confined spaces dangerous.

What is a Confined Space?

A confined space is an enclosed or partially enclosed area that offers risk of injury or death from dangerous conditions or hazardous substances. Examples of enclosed spaces are drains, tanks, sewers or silos.

These are areas that were not made for people, but occasionally need to be entered for inspection or repair work.

What Are the Main Hazards Encountered in Confined Spaces?

1. Reduced Oxygen Levels

Naturally occurring reactions can cause oxygen levels to be reduced in a confined space. An example is when groundwater and limestone or chalk mix, producing carbon dioxide, which lowers oxygen levels. Old tanks filled with rust can also cause oxygen levels to deplete.

2. Poisonous Gases and Fumes

The lack of ventilation in confined spaces can lead to the build-up of poisonous gases and fumes. If a gas pipe leaks for example, this can create a toxic atmosphere for workers. Working with paint and adhesives in a small space can also cause dangerous fumes to build up, when there is minimal ventilation.

3. Crushing or Trapping Hazards

The possibility of crushing or trapping while working in a confined space is a real risk. Especially when working with the earth, making parts unstable. PPE (personal protective equipment) must be worn at all times like safety gloves, hard hats and goggles.

4. Risk of Flooding

The risk of flooding while working in a drain or sewer is high. If this happens or a trench collapses, trapping and even drowning is a possibility. Because confined spaces are small, a flood can cause problems in a matter of seconds, giving little time to escape.

5. Fire and Explosions

Fire and explosions in a confined space impose great risk from the smoke and heat. Not only this, but there can be fewer options to escape. When working with flammable gases, liquids and vapours, the risk of fire is increased. And the dust build-up from drilling or grinding adds further risk, when the ventilation is minimal.

6. Increased Noise Levels

Working in confined spaces with high noise levels can lead to hearing loss if not using the right safeguards. Employees working in power plants and under rail lines should ensure they use adequate hearing protection such as earmuffs and earplugs.

Safety Tips for Working at Heights and Why They are So Important

No matter how many times you have to work at a dangerous height, whether it’s infrequently or often, working safely is your priority. Just one slight mistake can turn a routine job into a serious injury, or worse – a fatality. Even if not fatal, the impact of injuries on workers and third parties can be very serious indeed. Falls from even what is perceived as a small height of 4 feet for instance can cause soft tissue injuries, fractures, spinal injuries and traumatic brain injuries.

Reported causes of death in the workplace 2019:

  • 183 died of injuries sustained while working
    • 97% were male
    • 79 died at work in vehicle accidents                     
    • 21 died falling from height
    • 7 died from being hit by moving objects
    • 21 died from being hit by falling objects

Source: SWA work-related traumatic injury fatalities, Australia 2019

Know What Qualifies as “Working at Height”?

In Australia working at height is legally described as “a risk of a fall from one level to another that is reasonably likely to cause injury to the worker or another person”. This also covers falling from one level to another or from ground level into a pit or lower level. Falls that happen on the same height when slipping or getting caught on an object are not considered as to have happened when working at height.

Assess the Risk

Prior to any work, risk assessment must be carried out. If the height is above 2 metres in construction or 3 metres in housing then a simple risk assessment is inadequate and you must complete a “Safe Work Method Statement” by law. Identifying hazards and knowing what physical requirements will be required at a site are important as these should be done first. If you have failed to spot potential hazards or seen what requirements like railings are required for the site anything you do from this point on is severely compromised. Knowledge of what is a risk and how to spot one is crucial.

Use the Proper PPE and Inspect It

There is a lot of personal protection equipment available and knowing what to use for the right situation is crucial, but so is inspecting it. One of the most common pieces of protection when working at height is a harness or lanyard. Even these simple devices can vary in functionality wildly and so have different benefits. A worker welding at height will need something more than    a nylon harness for example as it won’t have adequate heat protection. Comfort is also a factor so do your research and determine what personal protection is required for each task. Inspecting your gear before commencing any work is also crucial yet easily forgotten. For the time it takes to inspect wear and tear or a fault this habit is worth its weight in gold.

Training, Training and Training

Knowledge is power, and the power to save your own life as well as lives of others is undeniable. There is so much to learn and if you want your employees to work safely at heights then training is the best way forward to prevent accidents.

Why Businesses Need Confined Space Training

Working in a confined space in any industry can be very dangerous indeed so it must be managed and employees must be trained on the risks. Confined spaces present all sorts of hazards, not just the restricted movement of the space itself, but its accessibility, its atmosphere, visibility and contaminants etc. The list of potential hazards is huge so being fully trained on a confined space safety course is not only a legal requirement, but one that could save lives. The types of confined spaces are as numerous as the hazards they present – tankers, silos, trenches, engine rooms, sewer systems and crawl spaces etc.

Who Is Confined Space Training For?

It’s not only the worker that enters a confined space that needs training, but training is required for those who:

  • Undertake hazard or risk assessment
    • Implement risk control measures
    • Issue entry permits
    • Workers acting as standby or communicating with workers in a confined space
    • Monitor conditions while work is carried out
    • Purchase equipment for working in a confined space
    • Design or layout work areas that include confined spaces

In QLD alone, 92% of accidents in confined spaces were due to lack of or inadequate training, in a report by Fire and Safety Australia in 2019.

What Defines a Confined Space?

According to the govt, a confined space is one that:

  • Is not designed or intended primarily to be occupied by a person
    • Is, or is designed or intended to be, at normal atmospheric pressure while a person is in the space
    • Has a limited means of entry and exit
    • Is or is likely to be a risk because of the atmosphere, contaminants or engulfment, or an unsafe level of oxygen

The specific WHS legislation laid out in 2011 can be found here.

What does a “Confined Space Training” Course Teach You?

The course is designed to give students the necessary skills and knowledge to safely and competently work in confined spaces. The course covers (but is not restricted to) the following:

  • Applicable Legislations and company confined space procedures
    • Definitions and types of confined spaces
    • Hazard identification and risk management procedures
    • Hazardous atmospheres including gas monitoring techniques
    • Isolation, purging, ventilation
    • Roles and responsibilities of team including standby
    • Rescue equipment and procedures
    • Industry case studies

Ultimately the course teaches students to identify what is a confined space and identify risks and hazards so appropriate action can be taken.

Benefits of Confined Space Training to businesses and Employers

Your workers and employees will be competent in:

  • Identifying Risks and Hazards
    • How to Handle an Emergency
    • Business Compliance
    • Encourages Leadership
    • Peace of Mind

At the end of the day, the main reason is to save lives, but courses are sometimes seen as an unnecessary expense, even though they are a legal requirement. The truth is that if saving lives weren’t enough, actually the cost to your business from an accident or a fatality is actually a lot more expensive.

Our courses are delivered in custom facilities across QLD, Tasmania and SA, to find out how we can help your business more with these courses call (07) 5491 2144.

What is Operate Breathing Apparatus Training?

This is a safety requirement for workers who typically have to operate in hazardous atmospheres and confined spaces where there are toxic fumes or chemicals present, or an unsafe level of oxygen and have to operate a self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA). The course does not cover the use of rebreather (closed circuit) apparatus.

The course covers three main areas:

  1. Conduct pre-donning checks and tests on breathing apparatus
    1. Operate breathing apparatus
    1. Conclude operations in accordance with procedures

Being competent in these areas means workers skills are vastly increased in identifying multiple types of hazards which are essential when operating breathing apparatus in any environment, especially confined spaces and where toxic gasses, fumes or lack of oxygen are present. Course covers operating alone and in teams to cover all real world scenarios.

Who is Operate Breathing Apparatus Training for?

Typically workers are required to wear breathing apparatus when:

  • In a confined space
    • With hazardous gases/vapours
    • In an oxygen deficient atmosphere
    • In other situations requiring the wearing of breathing apparatus

There are other situations where breathing apparatus is required, like emergencies but the operate breathing apparatus training course is primarily designed for the above. There are no pre-requisites but students must be literate in the English language and be able to perform tasks wearing 12 Kgs of equipment. The 1 day course is ideal for companies who have workers operating in these conditions such as:

  • Mining Industry
    • Civil Construction Industry
    • Oil & Gas Industry
    • Power Generation Industry
    • Maintenance & Shutdown Industry

Types of Environments and Conditions

As part of the course, it’s mandatory to be able to operate in different work environments and conditions that may affect performance. Our courses are delivered face to face at one of Link Resources purpose-built training facilities in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Devonport, Hobart and Adelaide.

If an organisation or company has specific requirements we can provide training and assessment on-site to groups by arrangement. Where assessment is undertaken on the job appropriate supervision and safety precautions must be provided.

What Types of Breathing Apparatus are Covered?

The operate breathing apparatus course is designed around one or more open circuit systems. These include self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), airline equipment and other similar breathing apparatus. It does not include rebreather systems which are designed for underwater use.

Course Benefits

Being able to work in an emergency or other hazardous environment safely will require good knowledge of checking and also operating the breathing apparatus correctly. Mistakes in these crucial areas will lead to accidents and potentially fatalities. All the course requirements are focused on safety and will give students the necessary skills to perform correctly in any situation. Our courses are delivered in custom facilities across QLD, Tasmania and SA, to find out how we can help your business more with these courses call (07) 5491 2144.

How Do We Train for “Working at Heights” and What’s Involved

All employers in Australia must ensure their workers are trained for working at heights. This crucially important piece of legislation was introduced in QLD in 2011. It varies slightly from

State to State and Territory to Territory, but the regulations themselves are largely the same and all with one common goal, to prevent injuries and death. The act also protects those liable like employers, facilities managers, building owners and anyone else that controls work at height.

Anyone working at height must undergo Working at Heights safety training by an accredited RTO (registered training organisation).

How Do You Get Trained for “Working at Height”?

If you are self employed you would enrol yourself, but mostly employers will send their employees on the course at their expense. Most RTO’s will work closely with employers as one size does not fit all. A good RTO will understand the specific needs of a company and will structure the training around their company and their staff.

There are some simple entry requirements though. All students must be literate in the English language (no interpreters allowed). Students must also have a reasonable level of mental and physical fitness as there are physical performance requirements, so people with underlying injuries or ailments may find it difficult to access the training areas or wear a harness for extended periods.

How Long is “Working at Heights” Training Course?

The course takes 8 hours and is face to face with an instructor. Usually, courses are run at dedicated training facilities, but some larger companies can schedule training on their premises by arrangement. All students who pass will receive a Statement of Attainment recognised under the Australian Qualifications Framework. This certification is nationally recognised.

What does a Working at Heights Course Teach You?

The training involves the necessary skills and knowledge to safely and competently work safely at heights to industry, workplace health and safety and Australian standards. During the day you will be taught and tested on the following areas:

  • Statistics
    • Legislation and company procedures
    • Risk Management
    • Definitions and types working at height activities
    • Equipment selection and correct use
    • Anchor systems (including selecting anchorage)
    • Fall restraint systems
    • Fall arrest systems
    • Work positioning systems
    • Correct use of ladders and ladder safety training
    • Rescue equipment and procedures
    • Industry case studies

Further Training Courses and Qualifications

After achieving the “working at heights” training course this opens up pathways to other associated resources and infrastructure units and qualifications which in turn lead to new employment opportunities in civil, construction, resources, manufacturing, utilities and maintenance industries.

As you can see the training course is just one day, incredibly important and also a legal requirement for working at heights in Australia. Leading RTO’s like Link Resources have dedicated training facilities all across QLD with center’s in Sydney and Tasmania too making it easy to access.