What is Stop Work Authority (SWA)?

Stop Work Authority (SWA) is a program designed to provide employees and contract workers with the responsibility and obligation to stop work when a perceived unsafe condition or behavior may result in an unwanted event.

Stop Work Authority Roles and Responsibilities

  • Senior Management: Creates a culture that promotes SWA, establishes clear expectations and responsibilities. Demonstrates support for using SWA without the potential for retribution. Resolves SWA conflicts when they arise. Holds employees and contractors accountable for full compliance with the SWA program.
  • Supervisors and Managers: Promote a culture where SWA is freely exercised, SWA requests are honored and resolved before resuming operations. Ensures necessary stop work follow-up is completed.
  • HSE Department: Provides training, support, documentation and monitors compliance of the SWA program.
  • Company employees and contractors: Initiate stop work (in good faith) and support stop work initiated by others.

Situations that may Require a Stop Work Action

Stop Work Authority should be initiated for conditions or behaviors that threaten danger or imminent danger to person(s), equipment or the environment. Situations that warrant a SWA may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Alarms.
  • Change in conditions.
  • Changes to scope of work or work plan.
  • Emergency situations.
  • Equipment used improperly.
  • Lack of knowledge, understanding or information.
  • Near-miss incident.
  • Unsafe conditions.
  • Unsafe Acts.

Stop Work Authority Process

Stop Work Authority is a sixl step process – stop, notify, investigate, correct, resume and follow-up, (training on lessons learned etc.)

  1. Stop

When an employee or contractor perceives condition(s) or behavior(s) that pose imminent danger to person(s), equipment or environment he or she must immediately initiate a stop work intervention with the person(s) potentially at risk.

If the supervisor is readily available and the affected person(s), equipment or environment is not in imminent danger, coordinate the stop work action through the supervisor. The stop work action should be clearly identify as a stop work action and initiated in a non-combative manner.

  1. Notify

Notify affected personnel and supervision of the stop work action. If necessary, stop work activities that are associated with the work area in question. Make the area(s) as safe as possible by removing personnel and stabilizing the situation.

  1. Investigate

Affected personnel will discuss the situation and come to an agreement on the stop work action.

If all parties come to an agreement the condition or behavior is safe to proceed without modifications, (e.g. the initiator was unaware of certain information or circumstances), the affected persons should show appreciation to the SWA initiator for their concern and then resume work. The SWA is complete at this point and no further steps are needed.

If it is determined and agreed the SWA is valid, A Stop Work Issuance Form will be completed. The condition(s) or behavior(s) that pose threats or imminent danger to person(s), equipment or the environment must be resolved before restarting work.

Work will be suspended until a proper resolution is achieved.

  1. Correct

Modifications to the affected area(s) will be made according to the corrections outlined in the Stop Work Issuance Form. The affected area(s) will then be inspected by qualified experts to verify completeness of the modifications and to verify all safety issues have been properly resolved. The completion of modifications will then be noted.

  1. Resume

The affected area(s) will be reopened for work by personnel with restart authority. All affected employees and contractors will be notified of what corrective actions were implemented and that work will recommence.

  1. Follow-Up

Operation / Site Managers will provide the root cause analysis to the stop work action and identify any potential opportunities for improvement. The HSE Manager will publish the SWA details, corrective actions and lessons learned and SWA trends will be discussed in management meetings. Management will promptly review all stop work reports to identify any additional investigation or required follow-up.