Spring is a time of renewal in nature. A similar theme can be found in the workplace as production plants and refineries across many industries plan for and then engage in “Turnaround”, annual events where plants will shut down, or minimize operations, and conduct maintenance to the machines, infrastructure, and the plant.
Workplace Safety & Turnaround
Workplace safety is a large part of Turnaround due to the fact that maintenance activities are involving the expertise of contractors and tradespeople who may not be familiar with the plant. Additionally, employees may be conducting projects or duties that only occur during Turnaround.
As Turnaround time is ripe for safety hazards, Clients will commonly issue zero tolerance for acts of misconduct, expecting that personnel are:
- On Schedule
- On Budget
- Performing Quality Work on Projects
- Adherence to Procedures
- Excellence in Safety Performance
Workplace safety during Turnaround is paramount. This is a matter of protecting people’s lives and/or well-being during a period of change within facilities that are inherently hazardous. As such, most Turnarounds will make use of a dedicated safety team. Involving safety managers, coordinators, controllers and/or inspectors, their job is to monitor the safety situation throughout the Turnaround, handle inspections, emergencies, and providing consultation on safety matters. It is a complex process involving considerable coordination and expertise.
With the number of personnel on site it is common to see spot check assessments, in addition to the regular inspections. The distinctions are:
A checklist activity, safety officers assess specific work projects to determine:
Unsafe Acts – Is a worker putting others at risk due to unsafe acts, intentional or otherwise?
Unsafe Conditions – Is the immediate work environment putting its workers at risk? This would include housekeeping, an assessment of the work environment tidiness, and the enforcement of good housekeeping.
Safety Inspections are a preventive measure meant to adhere to the expectation of Clients and occupational health & safety. All actions are dealt with quickly by competent workers.
Spot Check Assessments:
A Spot Check is a random selection of a workplace operation, and an analysis on how well the workers are conducting themselves safely for a particular task. If faults in the task are found by the safety team, then it must be recorded and corrected. That rectification then becomes a point of focus at the workers’ next safety inspection. The daily Hazard ID, individual worker training, and procedures are reviewed for correctness and how they are followed.
Take a moment to consider your organization’s current approach to conducting Safety Inspections and Spot Checks during Turnaround. How can you improve your own processes and procedures?