Consider non-routine safety risks before plant shutdown maintenance

By Karen Hamel, for EHS Today

Dec 13, 2017

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Routine plant shutdowns commonly are used throughout industry to allow time for preventative maintenance projects, in-depth housekeeping, changeovers, upgrades and other time-consuming tasks that aren’t part of a facility’s daily operating schedule. Shutdown events sometimes are scheduled months or even years in advance, and the list of things that need to be accomplished can be quite lengthy.

When facility employees are utilized to check off each item on that list, it sometimes is easy to overlook safety needs during shutdowns because the employees work at the plant every day and are familiar with the hazards that are present during operations. Because the tasks scheduled for the completion during the plant shutdown are non-routine, they can present different hazards than those faced during normal operations.

Reviewing safety hazards and incorporating safeguards into plans and procedures for each of the tasks that need to be completed will help employees and contractors to better manage each project. As plans are being created, consider the following risks that are common during plant shutdowns. Work tasks also may have unique hazards that need to be evaluated.

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