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Procedure: Permit to work


The purpose of this procedure is to detail the permit to work system and ensure that consideration is given to the risks associated with undertaking certain high-risk tasks at the University. This procedure ensures that legal and other obligations of the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Cth), the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (Cth) and the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth) are defined for managing the health and safety of all workers. This procedure is linked to the University’s Work health and safety policy and is one of the Safe Work Procedures within the WHS Management System.


Area operator is the person who monitors and controls the work.

Asbestos work area refers to the immediate area in which work on asbestos contaminated material is taking place. The boundaries of the asbestos work area must be determined by a risk assessment.

Confined space permit to work refers to a permit required for entry into all confined spaces.

High voltage installations refers to work near (within 3 metres) high voltage installations and requires a permit to work.

Hot works permit is required when any activity such as welding, cutting, heating, fire-producing or spark-producing operations such as abrasive blasting may increase the risk of fire or explosion in or on a University owned building or a confined space.

Isolation of plant involves the isolation of all forms of potentially hazardous energy so that the item of plant being worked on does not move or start up accidentally. Isolation of plant also ensures that entry to a restricted area is controlled while the specific task is being carried out.

Local area refers to a College, Research School or Service Division of the University.

Overhead power lines means a permit to work is required for planned work near (within 3 metres) of overhead power lines. If the plant or equipment required for the job will encroach within 3 metres of overhead power lines, a permit to work must be completed.

Permit authority is the person authorised to approve the Work Permit. The Permit Authority is responsible for defining and ensuring work precautions are carried out.

Permit holder is the person who accepts the work permit and is responsible for ensuring compliance with work conditions.

Hazard assessment refers to a process that estimates the effects or consequences of hazardous events on people, property and the environment. The process would consider the likelihood of occurrence and the severity of the consequences.

Safe work method statement (SWMS) sets out the requirements to carry out work in a safe and healthy manner and in a logical sequence

Working at heights permit to work refers to any work related activity being undertaken at an elevated position where there is the potential to fall. Falls from heights can also include working in quarries, near pits, wells, excavation and cliffs.

Work party are the people who accept and whose work is covered by the work permit.

Work permit sets out the work to be done, precautions to be taken and specifies all work conditions.



  1. This Permit to Work procedure is applicable only to maintenance related activities managed by Facilities and Services (F&S) Division. All non-maintenance related high-risk work requiring permit to work approval is the responsibility of local area management.
  2. This Permit to Work procedure shall be applied to the high-risk work activities detailed in Table 1, see definitions and specific procedures for further information:

Table 1: Identified high-risk work requiring a permit

High-Risk Work

Safe Work Procedure

Confined Spaces Entry

see Confined space safety

Excavation and Surface Penetration

see Excavation and Surface Penetration procedure

Fire Monitoring and Suppression Systems

Email for a fire systems impairment permit to work form

High Voltage Installations, including working on all ‘live’ electrical systems regardless of voltage where isolation is not possible.

see Electrical safety management and Isolation and danger tagging

Hot Works

see Chapter 3.1 Hazard Management, Appendix D.2 - Hot Work Permit

Working at Heights

see Fall prevention

Working Near Overhead Power Lines

see Electrical safety management and Isolation and danger tagging

Working with Asbestos

see Asbestos and Synthetic Mineral Fibres

Contractors performing any of the above

see Contractor WHS


  1. Only authorised persons (permit authority) can issue a permit to work. The permit authority will ensure that the following requirements have been addressed:
  • Ensure all hazards associated with the proposed job have been identified, assessed and controlled;
  • Be familiar with the intended task(s);
  • Ensure that the area and equipment are made safe;
  • Outline how the work is to be undertaken (e.g. procedures, precautions, equipment, location, start time, duration) - verbally and where necessary in writing;
  • Ensure that permits are cross referenced with other permits (e.g. confined space entry permit and hot work permit in confined spaces);
  • Records of work permits shall be kept in the local area within easy access along with other WHS documentation e.g. risk/hazard assessments & SWMS;
  • Ensure the permit is granted before work commences;
  • Ensure that the person(s) doing the work are appropriately qualified to do the work; and
  • Ensure appropriate persons are informed when a job is completed or suspended and that the permit is cancelled.
  1. The permit holder, or person undertaking the work, will ensure the following requirements are addressed:
  • Satisfy that they understand the requirements of the permit;
  • Are skilled, qualified trained and competent to perform the work, including the use of any personnel protective equipment or rescue equipment;
  • Adhere to the permit to work requirements;
  • Ensure the job is performed in a safe manner by identifying hazards and have the necessary controls in place;
  • Make the work area safe, including equipment and seek immediate advice if in doubt or if circumstances or conditions change; and
  • Ensure that all tags and signs are prominently displayed so that personnel are aware that the equipment etc. is isolated / not to be operated.
  1. Each member of the work party must legibly print and sign the back of the work permit to signify understanding and acceptance of the work precautions and work conditions prior to commencing work under that work permit.
  2. The entire work party must immediately stop work where a change in conditions or hazards occurs and request, from the permit authority, approval for the continuation of work under the current work precautions and work conditions, or seek an amendment of the permit to work to enable work to proceed.

Permit to work

  1. A permit to work is a formal written authority given to appropriately trained personnel to carry out work in areas where hazards or adverse conditions may be present. The permit is issued by an authorised person and confirms that the job in question has been assessed and clearly defines the safety precautions to be taken. The permit is in addition to the risk/hazard assessment process and any other documentation such as a safe work method statement, safe work procedure or standard operating procedure.
  2. All parties must sign off on the permit before any work commences.
  3. Permits shall be valid until the specified date on the work permit.
  4. All F&S services staff and contractors are required to have a work permit to undertake hazardous work at the University.
  5. A service request is to be raised via the MAXIMO maintenance management system, and a high-risk work order created. The permit for the high-risk work activities detailed in Table 1 above, will be managed via MAXIMO.
  6. A permit to work can be used over a series of dates and times providing the permit is for the same location and work activity, dates and times of work must be listed on the permit.
  7. A permit states:
  • the exact identity, nature and extent of the job and the hazards involved. It also outlines any limitations on the extent of the work and the time during which the job may be carried out;
  • specifies the precautions which need to be taken, including safe isolation from potential risks such as electricity and hazardous substances;
  • provides a system of continuous control and a record showing the nature of the work;
  • provides a process for times when work should be suspended;
  • provides for cross-referencing of permits for work activities that may interact or affect one another; and
  • provides a formal handover process for use when the permit is issued for a period longer than one day and provides a formal hand back procedure to ensure that part of the area affected by the work is in a safe condition and ready for reinstatement.

Work permit distribution

  1. Facilities and Services manage the application and approval process for Permit to Work on campus. Each work permit consists of three copies:
  • Permit Authority Copy – an electronic copy of the work order held by F&S in the MAXIMO maintenance management system. The permit authority copy provides overall information required to maintain control over all work in any given area;
  • Local Area Copy – a signed hardcopy of the work order that remains in the possession of the responsible person for the local area (such as building custodian or WHS officer) and therefore allows this person to be aware of all work being carried out within their area; and
  • Permit Holder Copy – a signed hardcopy of the work order that remains in the possession of the permit holder on the job site and provides this person all the information required to carry out the job safely. This copy is returned to the permit authority at the termination of the permit.

Permit authority qualifications

  1. A person must meet the following criteria to be considered as a permit authority:
  • demonstrate understanding of the intent of relevant legalisation and University procedures;
  • know how to perform a SWMS and a confined space risk assessment and can determine when a SWMS and/or a confined space risk assessment are required in accordance with excavation, working at heights or hot work; and
  • to approve confined space entry permits, a permit authority must have a confined space entry certificate.

Display of permits

  1. Permits are to be held at the work area and be readily available for inspection onsite whilst work is being undertaken.

Monitoring work

  1. Monitoring of the work by the permit authority may not require constant surveillance but will include verification that control points are being correctly observed. It is also necessary to check that the work precautions taken are adequate. The permit authority or delegate monitors the work carried out by the work party. The work permit will be withdrawn at any time that non-compliance of any work conditions is observed. If any person observes work being carried out that appears unsafe then work must cease immediately.
  2. The permit holder and the permit authority will review the work conditions before work recommences. The permit holder’s supervisor will be informed.

Closing the permit

  1. Prior to the return of a work permit to the permit authority, the permit holder is responsible for confirming that the work party:
  • leave the work area clean and safe;
  • remove personal locks and/or danger tags; and
  • if equipment is unserviceable or unsafe to operate, attach an out of service tag.
  1. When the above is complete this is indicated as yes on the work permit, signed by the permit holder and returned to the permit authority.
  2. The permit authority, upon receipt of the permit holder’s copy carries out any reinstatement work required to return equipment to its operating state and signs off the permit authority copy in MAXIMO.

Permits for high risk work

  1. All high risk work listed in Table 1 must be controlled by a work permit in accordance with the University’s specific WHS procedure for that type of work. The required permits as specified in those procedures will be attached to the permit to work, and the MAXIMO work order.

Record Keeping

  1. All completed work permits and relevant documentation shall be held in the MAXIMO maintenance management system and electronically linked to the work order. MAXIMO Work Order records will be held for a minimum of seven years.

Incident reporting

  1. The reporting of incidents, accidents, significant exposures and dangerous occurrences assists the University community in avoiding repeated incidents. All incidents at the University will be reported via the University’s Workplace safety incident and hazard reporting tool.


  1. The Work Environment Group conducts training on asbestos awareness; confined spaces; isolation tag out; electrical safety; managing risks and height safety. All these inductions are essential for personnel performing their role in issuing and managing permits to work.
  2. The immediate manager or supervisor of F&S services staff and contractors are responsible for ensuring that relevant training records are maintained and recorded on personnel files. A register of University personnel who have completed these induction courses will be maintained by the Work Environment Group.


Legal and other information sources

Work Health & Safety Act 2011 (Cth)

Work Health & Safety Regulation 2011 (Cth)

AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk Management

AS/NZS 2865:2009 Confined Spaces

AS/NZS 1891.4:2009 Industrial fall-arrest systems and devices


Printable version (PDF)
Title Permit to Work
Document Type Procedure
Document Number ANUP_018011
Purpose To detail the permit to work system and ensure that consideration is given to the risks associated with undertaking certain high risk tasks at the University.
Audience Staff
Category Administrative
Topic/ SubTopic Health, Safety & Environment - Occupational Health & Safety
Effective Date 16 May 2018
Next Review Date 31 Dec 2023
Responsible Officer: Chief People Officer
Approved By: Chief Operating Officer
Contact Area Safety and Wellbeing
Authority: National Self-Insurer WHS Audit Tool
Work Health & Safety Act 2011
Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011
Delegations 0

Information generated and received by ANU staff in the course of conducting business on behalf of ANU is a record and should be captured by an authorised recordkeeping system. To learn more about University records and recordkeeping practice at ANU, see ANU recordkeeping and Policy: Records and archives management.