The Importance of Safety for Planned Outages

By: Shawn Nuckols, Regional Sales Manager, Scaffold Services

At least once a year, the average American visits their primary care physician. While at an annual physical, the doctor will check the patient’s vital signs: blood pressure, heart rate, respiration rate, and temperature. Next, the doctor will ask a series of questions to gather a large amount of information about the patient’s history as it relates to health. To reduce the risk of developing health problems, information of the patient’s family history may also be requested.

The best way to make sure everything is in good shape is to have consistent check-ups. Similar to doctors visits, are planned shutdowns. Just as the human body grows and ages, a regular check-in with the primary care physician is required. Equipment also ages with wear and tear over time, and requires a consistent inspection as well. 

Planned shutdowns, otherwise known as outages, are scheduled shutdowns of the industrial plant for inspection and maintenance of equipment. These outages are scheduled far in advance, even if the schedule changes, and are typically scheduled twice a year. During these shutdowns, or outages, all the equipment is inspected and the facility is cleaned.

Throughout this time, an industrial plant determines what they can maintain, fix, and inspect with their in-house maintenance personnel. The remaining tasks will then be outsourced to a sub-contractor, who will rent equipment and tools through a third party such as Sunbelt Rentals.

Shutdowns require an extreme amount of work to take place in a very short period of time. Throughout this time, a tremendous amount of scaffolding is built inside and outside of the facility to help clean and inspect the machinery.  Many other tools needed throughout the duration of the outage may include: lifts, compressors and air tools, generators, impact wrenches, and sand blasters. 

Planned shutdowns require a project to be completed safely – on time, and under budget. The culture of safety paired with an unrivaled training facility is what results in a successful outage. The third party helping with a shutdown sometimes has less than 24 hours to get the job done with the expectation of zero injuries.

For your company’s next scheduled outage, be sure you’re hiring a team that cultivates safety as a strong value. When safety is a value, injuries are less likely to occur, which eliminates the snowball effect of lost time and lost money, providing you with a more efficient outage experience.




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