During an internal safety audit one morning more than ten years ago, it was discovered that a large generating station’s Hot Work Permitting Logs were insufficient and not up-to-date. Hot Work is defined as any work that involves burning, welding, using spark-producing tools, or that produces a source of ignition. All Hot Work requires a permit and a log entry.
The station maintained logs in its multiple control rooms. Some were paper copies on clipboards and some were in Excel spreadsheets. It was found that many old entries had not been closed out as required, and there was no easy access to the logs.
The directive was given by the auditors to have the situation corrected as soon as possible. The station safety coordinator called me because he was familiar with SharePoint’s custom list functionality and suspected that SharePoint could provide a good solution.
Our task was to build a Hot Work Permit Log that would serve as the one-stop location for all station Hot Work Permitting, consolidating the eight separate logs into one.
The necessary list columns were already known and were in spreadsheet format in the paper logs and the Excel logs that existed. The log was a simple spreadsheet with columns for Location, Work Leader, Fire Watch Employee, Start Date & Time, Expected End Date & Time, etc.
We simply took the existing columns and built matching columns in the custom list. We also now had the added functionality requiring authors to choose exact employee names pulled from Outlook and requiring correct data entry in other columns.
As it does with all custom lists, SharePoint built a matching web form to receive typed data to fill in each row of data. With the columns and entry form complete, we began work on the ways the data would be displayed.
We built views for each control room (eight of them). Each view filtered out the entries of other control rooms and then grouped the pertinent log entries by status and sorted by date.
Since entries were required to be closed out within seven days after completion, we also built a “wall of shame” view that showed entries where the deadline had been missed. The safety coordinator signed up for an alert from the list that would then push all future tardy entries to him for remediation.
We also built a master list web page that showed all current hot work in the plant so any interested managers or the safety coordinator could perform job site inspections.
The new Hot Work Permit Log tool was built the afternoon of the same day and was shown to the safety auditors before they left the plant. It received immediate approval and was communicated to plant personnel the following day for rapid implementation.
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