What is the importance of the Environmental tab in the Permit to Work (PTW), in OHS Online?
This is a really great question and an important one too! The Environmental tab of the PTW is another fundamental section of the PTW. This is where the environmental considerations of the work being done need to be identified and documented.
When considering the environmental aspect, there are a couple of points to consider:
1. How can the environment be affected by the work being done by the contractor?
2. How can the workplace infrastructure be affected by the work being done by the contractor?
The Environment In most cases, when considering the impact on the environment, it is the waste generated from processes which take place when work is done, which needs to be considered:
1. Solid waste from packaging - this can be cardboard, paper, plastic or wood, etc.
2. Solid waste from containers - this can be plastic, glass or metal, etc.
3. Solid waste from construction processes - this can be rubble, bricks, concrete, asbestos, bitumen tar, wood, earth, clay, dust, etc.
4. Basic liquid waste from work processes - this can be dirty water, soap water, etc. 5. Chemical liquid waste from work processes - this can be toxic, flammable, acidic or environmentally harmful liquids.
Regardless of the waste type, it needs to be removed safely and disposed of safely, according to any legislation requirements which may control it. The Environmental section allows these aspects to be identified and their processes highlighted and controlled to ensure waste is safely controlled, the environment safely protected and the risk to the client and contractor minimised.
Workplace Infrastructure Often, when a contractor works on-site, they or their workers are not aware of important infrastructure aspects of the company. Consequently, during work equipment or infrastructure gets damaged. Network cables get damaged or cut; fire alarm systems malfunction because something has impacted on it during the work process. This creates unnecessary expense and bad relationship dynamics between the client and contractor. These can be easily avoided by identifying possible infrastructure concerns and communicating them so that everyone is aware of these. The Environmental section helps to identify these, allow these to be communicated and allow checks to be made following the work being done, to ensure all is correct and in order.