Implementation of a permit to work system can be a major change for an organisation. Management of change is a critical element in the successful introduction of any new system and the suggestions here may be applied to many other situations beyond PTW. The ‘spoiler’ of course is that communication is the most important part of any big change.
1. Get the right people on board. The ideal team will cover a range of the activities which will involve permit to work, and will be comprised of individuals who are open to change and who have influence within the business. Get this team on board early and you will be at least half-way there ! If the new system will be IT based you will obviously need to involve appropriate internal specialists to ensure that the correct infrastructure and resources are made available. If you’re using an external supplier it’s important to involve them early so that they can anticipate and mitigate any issues in the early stages of implementation. First impressions are important so it’s worth putting more effort in up-front even if there’s a bit of extra time/cost involved.
2. It is crucial to explain why a permit-to-work system is necessary. (e.g. reducing accidents, improving efficiency,lowering the risk to individuals and property. Show how the PTW system will benefit the organization and its employees. e.g. reducing downtime, improving productivity, and increasing employee morale and job satisfaction. It may be useful to use examples from similar businesses and depending on the size of the implementation it may also be worth arranging visits to see similar systems in action. It may help to ask employees to brainstorm more effective ways of managing tasks within a business – you may find that the need for an effective PTW system emerges from these discussions – it is likely that there will be more buy-in for an idea that comes from the staff rather than management
3. Be prepared to address any concerns that employees or other stakeholders may have about the permit-to-work system. These concerns could include how the system will be implemented, how it will affect job roles, and how it will be managed/enforced. Remember that your picture of the future may be different from your team’s – especially if the system will involve extra work or a reduced need for certain roles
4. Involve key stakeholders in the planning and implementation This will help ensure that everyone is on board with the system and understands their roles and responsibilities.
5. Provide training for everyone involved. When people start to see for themselves how the system will operate they will have a better idea of how it will fit into their day-to-day activities and will increase the likelihood of successful adoption
6. Monitor the effectiveness of the PTW system and evaluate its success. This can take many forms – for example it may be possible to show an improvement in productivity, a reduction in incidents or a qualitative increase in staff satisfaction – whatever measure you use make sure that you have the processes in place well in advance of implementation.