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Health & Safety and Contractor Management

5 Tips for Effective Shutdowns and Turnarounds

Managing plant shutdowns and turnarounds is a high stakes game. Bringing contractors into your site and achieving the most efficient possible turnaround requires solid planning and quality checking throughout. Here we look at a number of tips for making the shutdown process run smoothly and keeping the overall cost down.

5 Tips for Effective Shutdowns and Turnarounds

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Our experience helping companies to manage their plant shutdowns has led us to assemble a list of 5 essential tips for others who have a turnaround project to organise. Every year in August the peat burning power plant at Edenderry in Ireland is shutdown using our software. The semi-state company Bord na Mona who manage the project have found online inductions the critical success factor in training contractors and staff in safe work practices, systems processes and company policy. They also benefit from the accountability of contractor testing on processes and the secure capture of contractor registration data. The impact for a company of an unplanned shutdown can be catastrophic so it is essential to have a regular review of plant to make sure maintenance is running correctly.

  1. Employ the best contractors:

Everybody in business looks for the best price with contract work and services. The temptation is to go with the lowest quotation when employing shutdown or turnaround contractors. However, this may not be the best option as shutdowns are projects where time is of the essence. Employing the most experienced contractors, even if they are the most expensive, could be the difference between finishing the project on time and, ultimately, on budget.

  1. Quality Assurance and Quality Checking program

A proven method for quality assurance is a two part tagging system where all machinery is initially tagged and checked by the foreman after it has been completed and there is a further check by the QA representative at the end as a sign off for the machine to re-enter service. Having systems in place such as these help to ensure nothing is missed and even though it is time consuming it does pay off for the project as a whole. All QA and QC elements should be clearly outlined in the contractor induction to avoid confusion.

  1. Don’t forget to Educate

The contractor induction for shutdowns and turnarounds is perhaps one of the most important inductions in manufacturing and hard hat industries. The shortened time frame of the work and the myriad safety hazards demand well documented procedures for contractors to follow. Shutdowns and turnarounds are intense work periods and significant gains accrue to companies who use online inductions to get through the majority of induction materials in advance of the turnaround day. Safety training, shutdown processes, site information and contractor registration can all take place in advance of any contractors setting foot on site resulting in maximum efficiency on day one.

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  1. Develop a good working relationship with your contractor

A good working relationship with contractors is a decision that is made well before any workers arrive on site. It is more a question of intention on the part of the company. Providing adequate training in advance is one element of developing a good relationship but it is not the only one. Contractor companies who are involved in the design of the shutdown plan to have a greater sense of investment in the project and a greater understanding of where difficulties might crop up. Inevitably, tasks will be shared between employees of the company and the contractor so having cultivated a joint sense of purpose between these two elements may be the difference between success and failure in the end. Finally, good communication of expected standards and consequences of failure can ease friction in the project.

  1. Provide enough time for preparation

A conservative guide for the planning of a shutdown is 4 months, though most companies do build the shutdowns and turnarounds process into their annual maintenance schedules. Assembling contractor quotations, contracts, training inductions and output downtime can not be done overnight and requires careful planning. Safety training alone for contractors who may not be familiar with the plant or site requires detailed work in preparation.

If you would like to learn more about induction software for shutdowns contractors contact us for more information and we will help you to streamline your shutdowns and turnarounds.

For more information Watch our 60 seconds Video or Take a Free Demo Today.

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