Frequently Asked Questions

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A Permit-to-work is a written record that authorises specific work, at a specific location on property managed by the University, for a specific period of time; it is an agreement between the Permit Issuer and the Permit Receiver, which documents the conditions, preparations, precautions, limitations and ongoing control measures that need to be followed before work can start. They must be used for work on the following, but cannot be used for any other activity:
industrial gas systems, 

  • excavations, 
  • hot works, 
  • pressurised/steam systems or
  • high/low voltage systems.

This protocol does NOT include asbestos, work on medical gas pipeline systems, access to higher risk areas (e.g. roofs, plant rooms or laboratories) or work in certain kinds of confined spaces. There are also exclusions for similar kinds of faculty-managed teaching or research activity as these are managed through the risk assessment process.


A suite of documents which sit alongside the University Health and Safety Policy and provide detailed information on what you need to do to meet both legal and University requirements for different health and safety topics (e.g. fire safety, biological substances, fieldwork etc). 

Standard – specifies what the University expects to be in place for permits-to-work. Each bulletpoint is a ‘must happen’ and everyone needs to play their part in ensuring these requirements are met. Heads of School/ Service will set up systems and appoint staff into specific roles to support their implementation; everyone else needs to carry out tasks and instructions as required.

Training Matrix – In order to support people and ensure that they are provided with the key training and health and safety competency to fulfil their roles, most Standards (including this one) list a connected Training Matrix which identifies the minimum training / level of competency required for that topic. As this matrix forms part of the Standard it must be achieved – and for this topic it is especially stringent.
Head of School/Service Guidance – explains the way of implementing the system that will achieve the requirements of the Standard.  Some protocol Standards are fairly flexible, but Permits-to-work is very prescriptive and  the content of the Standard and Procedure must be implemented.

Procedure – this sets out the step-by-step process which must be followed if an activity that requires a permit-to-work is to happen. As it is listed in the Standard it must happen.

Key contacts – there are various key contacts to whom you can go for help, support and guidance – both in Health and Safety Services and in FD Estates.  

Head of School/ Service – discuss the protocol (particularly the Standard, HoSS Guidance, Procedure and Training matrix) with your Health and Safety Manager to check whether this protocol is relevant  to your school/ service, and if so make sure you have a system in place.  

All other staff and students - make yourself aware of any processes that have been put in place in your school / service  - ask your Health and Safety Manager or Coordinator, if you need more information or support.