What is a digital permit to work?

bigstock-Work-Safety-Hse-Regulation-Rul-419989240 (2)

What is a permit to work?

The HSE defines a permit-to-work system as “a formal recorded process used to control work which is identified as potentially hazardous. It is also a means of communication between site/installation management, plant supervisors and operators and those who carry out hazardous work.”

So basically, it describes the work that has to be done, the hazards involved, the measures put in place, the appropriate PPE and any isolation procedures.  The permit to work approval process starts from the moment a work order is issued and manages the permit being prepared, approved, closed off, and recorded at the end of the work.  The people responsible for the work have to capture the supporting information and sign off the different stages.

What is a digital permit to work?

A Permit to Work should document and communicate the precautions that need to be taken to control the risks. Traditionally, people use template-based paper documentation to manage this process but dedicated permit to work software and digital permits are proving increasingly popular.

Just to be clear, a digital work permit system isn’t simply using a computer as a means of generating and printing a paper version. Digital permit to work software is way more than that, it streamlines the whole process, centralising all the information and providing all stakeholders users with complete visibility regarding the status of all permits (even from other remote sites).

The permit to work software means everything is interconnected within the system, allowing online approval processes and functions such as camera, voice, GPS, and e-signature.  In summary, digital permit to work software can synchronise operational maintenance and scheduled/unscheduled work across organisations, providing control over contractors and reducing risk.


Digital Permit to Work Software Main Features

Permit to work software effectively creates a digital workflow, validating steps throughout the process. This gives the user control over the operation and prevents the occurrence of tampering and backdating practices. The software is configurable to fit existing work permit content, so it’s easy to integrate within safety processes.

Some of the main features of permit to work software are:
•    Custom streamlined permit creation
•    Online approval mechanisms
•    Checklist and drop down menu formats
•    User rights access and control
•    Warning and alerts
•    Real-time data and statistics review
•    Camera, voice, GPS, and e-signature enabled
•    Accessible reports and records anytime and anywhere

Digital Permit to Work Benefits

Permit to work software centralises all permit information and data on a single platform. This can save the time required in planning permits to work, speed up the approval process and support faster decision making. There are so many potential benefits of choosing the digital work permit, here are some examples:

•    Traceability thanks to the digital approvals and authentication features
•    Ensures all stakeholders have up to date visibility into the status of the permit to work across multiple sites via remote access and control
•    Improves site safety enforcement and increases accountability through a robust approval process.
•    Reduce the time required for the submission and approval process
•    Reduces administration costs: easy data entry and reporting
•    Makes it easier to coordinate  SIMOPS (Simultaneous Operation) i.e. projects involving several teams operating in the same areas
•    Enforce standards compliance: compares the H&S performance of across sites with the data captured.
•    Store, access, and retrieve digital permit to work records easily when investigations or audits are performed


Digital or electronic permits to work are just one of the features of SG World’s 5D Contractor software platform, an integrated system which helps you manage contractors safely and effectively from start to finish. You have a contractor database to document and access important information and job history, pre-qualification checks, a digital permit to work system and a booking-in process - all in one place in an affordable package.

New call-to-action

Previous article What is Contractor Management software?
Next article Latest Guidance on Harness & Personal Fall Protection Equip Inspections