Instilling the right attitude key to safe working at Stanlow
The planning and implementation of a turnaround has to include the careful consideration of safety as it is the key priority.
During the turnaround programme there will be a significant increase of workers on site, many who are unfamiliar with its layout and operations, so maintaining the highest safety standards is paramount.
The 12-week block shutdown during the first quarter of 2010 at Shell’s Stanlow Refinery saw Hertel workers on site more than double to 700 as well as bringing in a large number of specialist sub-contractors. To ensure the safety standards were maintained Hertel’s safety team were an integral part of the preparations for the turnaround.
Hertel’s safety programme is aligned to Shell’s own safety target of Goal Zero. This promotes 12 Life Saving Rules on the basis that all injuries are preventable. The Life Saving Rules apply to everyone who enters the site.
The Stanlow turnaround saw a total of 323,600 man-hours with just four First Aid Cases (FACs) and two minor Medical Treatment Cases (MTCs) reported which is due mainly to Hertel’s approach to safety.
This was achieved by every worker on site understanding their roles and responsibilities in achieving and maintaining safety standards. As part of the turnaround preparation all supervisors and managers attended a safety day.
Tony Dimeck, Hertel’s National Safety Manager, explains: “Good safety practice is a commitment and it is important that the supervisors and managers understood their own responsibilities. We took time out with them as part of the planning process to make sure that they understood what was required of them and their teams in bringing about safe working practices.
“Safety has to be seen as a core behaviour and personal attitude as well as a business process. We established standards which meant that all supervisors and mangers had to be holders of IOSH, NVQ3, SMTD and ACAD.”
For every worker coming on to site a Hertel company safety induction was held in addition to the site induction, whether they were direct Hertel employees or sub-contractors.
This ensured they understood their roles and responsibilities towards the Life Saving Rules. It also highlighted what was expected of them in terms of basic observations and interventions as well as supporting their colleagues through the mind set of ‘brother’s keeper’ so that they considered others’ safety on their section as well as their own. This induction also included a detailed look at safety issues in their work designated areas.
No one was allowed on site at Stanlow unless they had been issued with the correct PPE clothing, tools and equipment and regular spot checks were made. A number of safety initiatives were also introduced. These included:
- Full length scaffold gates with a toeboard;
- Bolt and scaffold clip boxes used at all times;
- All open scaffold tubes were capped and plugged;
- System scaffold used on at least 70% of erected scaffold. This reduced the risk of fires, particularly during work pre-turnaround and on equipment start up;
- Flame proof debris netting was used on all working platforms;
- Introduction of a ‘finger saver’ for all teams working on the mechanical aspects of the turnaround to help ensure finger safety when using a hammer;
- Shoulder strap bags issued to all staff and supervisors to carry drawings and paperwork ensuring hands were always free; and
- Hi-vis vests worn to identify appointed persons and crane supervisors during lifting activities.
John Salkeld, Director at Hertel responsible for the Stanlow turnaround, says:
“These initiatives lay the foundations to think about safety before starting work. There was also one safety administrator supporting every 75 men, which meant in all we had six dedicated safety officers on site during the turnaround.
“To maintain safety as front of mind everyday, we held a toolbox talk with the teams each morning to discuss safety practices and particular issues that may have arisen the previous day.”
Senior management were also actively involved and committed to maintaining standards. Weekly visits by at least three members of the senior management team were also made during the turnaround to ensure all the outlined procedures were in place and being used. During the turnaround, 258 safety visit inspections were carried out in this way.
One key innovation was the introduction of the ‘4 Whats’ pocket book. This provided an easy pre-task checklist which made the team think about the safety aspects of the work such as potential hazards, associated risks, controlling risk and what actions to take if something went wrong. An important element of the booklet was the ability to give feedback on any safety issues or processes that could be improved.
During the turnaround more than 10,000 ‘4 whats’ workplace assessments were completed.
Hertel also took other actions to make the turnaround safe. This included carrying out as much fabrication off-site as possible so that minimal work on site was required which helped to reduce potential hazards.
Tony Dimeck adds: “Safety is about setting the right behaviour and attitude. We instilled a strong understanding of what we expected from anyone working on site and the need to keep safe practices at the front of mind.
“It is the routine tasks which can present dangers and by identifying possible risks you create more awareness.
“The adoption of the ‘4 Whats’ booklet has certainly played an important part in the approach to safety during the turnaround as it actively drives safety performance and provides opportunities for new ideas. It is something we will extend within the business as it helps to maintain the highest safety standards.”
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