The Move Toward Proactive Safety Measures in Refineries – Part 1

All across the process industries, there is a push to strive for a culture of optimal safety. The goal is simply this: no injuries, incidents, or claims of either. As a starting point, many owners and managers find themselves researching their own injury rate. Unfortunately, this is not proactive – but reactive. As a contrast, we recommend turning to a proactive culture of safety in your refinery to prevent incidents before they happen.

Employee Participation

One of the most significant aspects of a proactive safety program is an emphasis on total employee participation. This effective representative participation should be implemented immediately from the development phase all the way to completion and maintenance. A crucial  component of your safety measures is to develop a hazard reporting program that allows all workers to express concerns about any possible safety concern. This includes full and part time employees, contractors, and other shareholders to safely and effectively report hazards.

Task Managment

Managers should account for the staffing and the length of time needed for completion when addressing any task. This includes every task with an associated risk. Managers should also make available communication systems, understandability of maintenance and operating procedures, and the human machine to system interface. A few effective tools include automatic alerts where needed, automatic shutdowns, and other error proof mechanisms.

Take Note of Close Calls

In many cases, an accident can be predicted. For example, think of a wet spot on the floor. A worker slips on it but regains their balance. No damage was done, but it was a close call and could have gone the other way. Any and all incidents such as this should be reported immediately and have a predetermined course of action for getting the area back to safe status. In fact, you should treat a close call the same as an incident that resulted in an injury or illness. The first step is to conduct an investigation to how the incident occurred, how someone or something could have been hurt, and how the incident can be prevented in the future. You should also block off the area, shut down the equipment, and remove access to the dangerous area while conducting the investigation.

Double Up During Shutdowns and Turnarounds

Your safety program may be top notch. However, it can be tested beyond its intended parameters during a shutdown or turnaround. Mangers, owners, and the like are focused on completing a number of complex and expensive tasks in a demandingly short amount of time. This is why we highly recommend using professionally trained contractors with a proven track record of safety to assist during these times. It is not a time for your team to get “on the job” training. They should be made aware of what tasks they are responsible for, the areas they do and don’t have access to, their schedules, and anything else related.

The AMACS team has led the refinery industry in providing critical services and tower internals during all types of turnaround and shutdown scenarios. We manufacture state of the art packing, trays, hardware, mist eliminators, wedge wire screens, feed inlet devices, and more. Contact us to learn how we can partner with you during your next turnaround or shutdown.