Plant shutdowns only happen once every few years. Because equipment goes offline so rarely, operators don’t always have opportunities to perform maintenance or install replacement machines. This means a lot of work ends up getting done in a short amount of time. As you can imagine, this event – called a turnaround – is a very busy period.
With so many workers in the facility and so much to accomplish, safety can sometimes take a backseat in favor of maximizing productivity. If your company considers health and wellbeing a priority and you want to ensure your next shutdown is safe, here are a few tips that’ll help you achieve plant turnaround safety.
1. Spread the Safety Gospel
Before crews disperse and work begins on your turnaround, set an expectation for safety and stress the importance of following best practices.
In addition, you should ask everyone to hold themselves and others to a high standard when it comes to safety. You’ll likely be working with a diverse group of individuals, including some who may not always adhere to guidelines and may try to take some shortcuts.
By encouraging others to act as a check, you can keep these workers on the right path. Your turnaround will be much safer as a result.
2. Inspect Tools and Equipment
The most disappointing incidents are the ones that are entirely avoidable. Those involving out-of-inspection tools and equipment definitely fall into this category and could do harm to both a worker and your company’s bank account.
Ahead of your turnaround, you should ensure all tools are in good condition and all equipment, especially the heavy variety, is inspected and in working order. If you put the time in here, your shutdown is far more likely to go off without a hitch, which means you can get through it more efficiently in order to bring your facility back online.
3. Identify and Address Hazards
Many aspects of plant turnaround safety shouldn’t apply to only turnarounds. For instance, you should already be aware of potential hazards on your job site. You should have appropriate signage calling these hazards out and you should have a safety plan in place for how workers are to operate in their vicinity.
However, that doesn’t mean another check prior to a turnaround is unnecessary. In fact, taking a stroll through your plant prior to a turnaround could surface new hazards or bring attention to old ones that have since become more problematic. If you can catch these ahead of time and take steps to mitigate risk, your turnaround will be all the more safer for it.
4. Schedule for Simplicity
When conducting a turnaround, the absolute last thing you want is pandemonium on the floor. If large swaths of workers are trying to operate in close proximity, are constantly criss-crossing paths and are even attempting to do work on the same equipment, risk goes up and safety is far more likely to be compromised.
To avoid scenarios like this, you should schedule work to be completed in a more streamlined way; one that keeps head count at a more manageable level. If you can hold off on having some workers show up until others have done their part, you’ll keep your facility more free-flowing, reduce the risk of accidents and increase plant turnaround safety.
5. Keep Safety Specialists on Site
Finally, it can’t be said enough how critical safety specialists are to a job site. No matter how hard you work at stressing safety and putting guardrails in place, there could be things you’re missing. Or an incident may occur nonetheless, and you’ll need someone on site who can respond immediately.
Safety specialists can aid you in a variety of ways, from planning safety initiatives for a turnaround, to helping plan and manage the event, to taking life-saving measures if an accident happens. Even if you think you’ve prepared for everything, you should still have safety specialists present for an extra layer of security. If something goes wrong, you’ll be glad you did.
For Turnaround Safety, Turn to Code Red
Code Red Safety is your one–stop shop for turnaround safety. For over 25 years, we’ve specialized in turnaround solutions that help operators safely manage their shutdown activities.
Contact Code Red today to learn more about what we can do during your next turnaround.