5 Tips to Boost Safety and Efficiency During Plant Outages

Don’t miss out on these opportunities to make your next outage smoother.

Pulling off a plant outage without a hitch is about as simple as landing a rover on Mars. The best plant managers plan outages months or years in advance and in meticulous detail. One reason: The price tag of being offline means every minute counts, and do-overs aren’t an option. In addition, the controlled chaos of dozens or hundreds of temporary workers onsite means the safety stakes are higher than ever.

Given that most outages are impressively well-orchestrated events, mangers may think they’ve left no stone unturned when it comes to finding ways to boost efficiency and safety. But these five tips can help reduce the risk of unnecessary delays while minimizing the likelihood of an accident or injury.

1. Consolidate vendors

Outages typically involve hundreds of pieces of temporary equipment moving on and off site. One smart way to reduce the chances of not having a piece of equipment you need when you need it, or not having the right piece of equipment to get the job done, is to consolidate equipment vendors.

Dealing with a single point of contact, at one company, can save countless hours planning equipment needs and coordinating equipment deliveries. And if there’s a problem, you immediately know the right person to contact to get it fixed. Better still, a strong collaboration with the right temporary equipment partner can help you avoid equipment-related problems in the first place.

2. Optimize the timing of equipment deliveries

If you must utilize more than one vendor, time equipment arrivals and pickups so delivery teams don’t get in each other’s way. If company A will be maneuvering a large piece of equipment into place, don’t schedule Company B to remove their equipment at the same time.

Work with a vendor that provides real-time delivery alerts so you know when equipment is arriving and can ensure you have the right staff on hand to receive and install it. When the equipment is no longer needed, get it off site as soon as possible to reduce clutter on the plant floor and also stop the rental clock.

3. Problem solve with experts

In the past, when an unexpected issue arose during an outage, plant managers could rely on a seasoned workforce with deep equipment expertise to quickly find a fix. Those veteran workers have retired, and many newer workers have less hands-on experience to draw upon.

Look to your equipment vendor to fill that knowledge gap. For example, if your turbine isn’t working properly due to moisture buildup on motor windings and blades, United Rentals’ experts can recommend temporary dehumidification measures that will solve the problem.

4. Update safety training

During a plant outage, workers may use less-familiar equipment and perform tasks that fall outside their daily routine. Confirm in advance that their training and certification is up to date. This can help you not only maximize their productivity but also avoid safety incidents and fines.

Training isn’t one-and-done. Crews working inside a tank might need confined space training to brush up on OSHA’s newest confined space regulations, for example. Workers operating a fork lift, scissor lift or boom lift should be up to date on ANSI A92, the standard for operating a mobile elevating work platform. Managers who supervise temporary work at height may also need training.

5. Track equipment with technology

How effectively are you utilizing the equipment you’ve leased for your plant outage? If you have 10 generators on site and only five are being used, or if a pump is sitting on site for several days after it’s needed, you’re not only cluttering the plant floor, you’re also wasting money.

A worksite management solution such as United Rentals’ Total Control® lets you track your equipment usage, locate your rented and owned equipment so there’s no time lost hunting for an asset, and off-rent with just a few clicks.

Meet all your equipment needs for your next turnaround with one vendor by contacting United Rentals at 833.426.1188.

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