Create a Culture of Safety to Ensure Successful Outages

group of men standing around a safety demonstration

In this post, Leonard Mistich, ProcessBarron’s Environmental Health and Safety Director, shares his insights on the keys to a safe and successful outage. 

Right now, I have Todd Conklin’s “Pre-Accident Investigations” book on my desk. He works in safety at one of the world’s foremost research and development laboratories. He wrote this incredible book to help people in industry identify complex potential incidents before they occur. 

When I think about what safety should look like, I think about a quote from this book where Conklin says we make engineering or PPE changes to meet these safety goals, but “the last thing we ever think about changing is the worker itself.”

And that’s where I believe the answer to a safe outage lies. Safety has to be part of the culture. 

Communication is Essential to a Successful Outage

Communication is the simplest thing in the world. Everything we do is an act of communication. So when you fail to communicate, you miss the opportunity to prevent something from happening. 

This includes communicating during shift changeovers. Is there anything the incoming teams need to know about, be aware of, or watch out for?

Check out this post for some of our plant shutdown safety recommendations. 

Employees need to be empowered as a part of the safety plan. They should be included in documenting potential hazards for the Job Safety Analysis. They need to know that if something doesn’t feel right, they must say something and stop the work. They need to know that supervisors and safety personnel will support them and do what’s required to correct the issue so we can start work again safely. 

Getting a Second Invitation

We tell everybody every day, “the most important thing for you to do is to go home the same way you came to work in the morning.” That’s why safety comes first, and production comes second. 

This is important as we work on large projects during outage season. We work long hours in what can be in unfamiliar territory. So we communicate the importance of safety just as much as we talk about doing the job well. We are guests in the customer’s house, and we want to be invited back. So we do everything we can to be a good guest so we get a repeat invitation. 

Your contractors should understand their responsibility to ensure safety for their team and the teams they work alongside. Facilitating an informed and safety-focused environment helps your outage run smoothly without accidents or OSHA recordables.

Contact us here to learn more about our safety procedures and how to partner with us for your next outage!