Whether a refinery turnaround involves inspections, tests, repairs, or upgrades, there are always safety precautions to take into consideration. In order to address these fully, SITEX always recommends looking for refinery turnaround services from experienced EH&S providers. Our team has used their knowledge of turnarounds to put together this helpful checklist to make sure you’re hitting the key points when it comes to your next turnaround and the safety of your employees.
▢ Set Your Expectations
Turnarounds aren’t a part of everyday work, but they are just as important. These disruptive and complex procedures create more hazards than everyday operations, and teams must understand that going into the work.
A major reason for those hazards is that turnarounds may last for weeks and often involve large numbers of employees, contractors, and third party workers. These teams are performing multiple, sometimes simultaneous, tasks to limit the amount of time equipment is offline.
At the same time, contractors and third parties will likely be unfamiliar with the refinery and its employees, so there will be a chunk of time needed to get them up to speed quickly. The unusual situations and the fast-paced nature of turnaround work will increase the amount of risk on any job site. Setting the team’s expectations to these parameters will start the project out on the right track and working with a refinery turnaround service provider like SITEX can alleviate the EH&S portion of that work as well.
▢ A Simple Schedule is Best
With the work in a turnaround already being complex, it’s best to create a schedule that gets the work done without creating new dangers. That means making sure that there is a minimum workload for everyone involved in the refinery turnaround.
The schedule will also help teams understand their responsibilities as they pass into the next step.
▢ Risk Assessment & Hazard Identification
SITEX team members are often tasked with this stage and due to their experience in refinery turnarounds it’s best to hand this work off to EH&S experts when possible. Turnarounds create the possibility of chemical, physical, ergonomic, psychological, and other safety hazards due to the type of work being completed.
Once a schedule has been completed, teams can break up the work items they need to complete and begin identifying hazards or risks in the areas they’ll be working in. This is when SITEX team members find hazards such as spills or atmospheric conditions as well as fall risks or confined spaces. Each of these dangers come with their own OSHA requirements and partners like SITEX are able to address them in a proactive way before they become a danger to the team.
▢ Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
The need to frequently speak with team members cannot be understated when it comes to a refinery turnaround. With the amount of work that needs to be done in a short time, communication must be frequent and clear.
For example, safety providers like SITEX can help with orientation, equipment training, safety expectations, safety guidelines, and a host of other useful meetings that should take place before any work is started. By clearly stating what needs to happen and how it can happen in a safe way, teams will better be able to follow the guidelines they are expected to adhere to.
This is a great time to re-educate team members on turnaround safety, especially if there are specific hazards your environment may have that are unique.
▢ Check Your Equipment
There is no excuse for equipment failure due to a lack of proper maintenance or inspection. Before any work is done, it’s critical that team members make sure their safety equipment and PPE is not just at the ready, but properly maintained.
That also goes for ladders, winches, air systems, and any other equipment that may be needed given the specific conditions of your environment. In the event that your company does not have the necessary equipment for the job, SITEX also offers equipment rentals with the assurance that the equipment has been maintained in between uses.
There is Always More To Safety
It’s important to note that this refinery turnaround safety checklist is just a starting point. Every refinery turnaround is unique and finding the right turnaround services for your environment will make the process go as smoothly as possible. What you have above are good reminders and key points when it comes to keeping team members safe during a refinery turnaround.
For a more comprehensive plan, we recommend speaking to an experienced EH&S professional who can tailor refinery turnaround services to your specific needs.
Contact us today to discuss your refinery turnaround needs and see how SITEX can help.