Tracking Key to Turnaround Success at Refineries and Mines

Shutdowns/turnarounds at mines and refineries are complex and expensive but are critical to safe, efficient operation and cannot be delayed or avoided. The key to minimising disruption is to plan and execute turnaround projects on time and within budget, while meeting business objectives.

We have spoken to many of our mining and refining clients who have identified two key areas of improvement.

  • Real time knowledge of where contractors or employees are located and where they needed during the turnaround; and
  • Knowing the location and movements of equipment during the exercise.

“The ‘people’ element is particularly key to a successful turnaround. To manage people effectively during a shutdown, you need to ensure peoples safety and productivity during the event. You need to know if people are doing the right job at the right time in a safe manner. Once the shutdown is complete, you need to fine-tune processes and the control of work to ensure an even better outcome for the next exercise.” Matt Clayton, Denver.

TAR/Shutdown planning

Shutdowns place additional pressure on reporting. The intensive nature of a maintenance shutdown often means recording data for reporting and historic purposes is not prioritised – meaning review processes are based on the workers memories that may be partial or inaccurate.

Accentuating BAU safety issues

Turnarounds accentuate important business-as-usual safety processes at mines and refineries. Operators need to know where teams (contractors or employees) are at all times in case an incident occurs. They need to direct workers to preassigned muster points and perform headcounts so they can quickly identify any workers who may be missing and initiate search and rescue. At many mines and refineries, this process is undertaken manually – and consequently may not meet the requirements of business as usual operations, let alone a critical shutdown.

Worker productivity is also critical to a smooth shutdown as well as business as usual operations. Knowing where employees and contractors are at all times is a starting point for mining and refinery organisations to maximise worker productivity. “People may be spending time in the wrong areas or doing the wrong jobs – which obviously limits the operator’s ability to run a mine or refinery efficiently,” says Clayton. “Furthermore, if managers do not have visibility of where employees and contractors are at all times, they may not know when a team has completed its work on a job and another team can be assigned to the next stage.


The Difference of a Red Cap

Denver's Principal IT/OT Advisors, Marco Van Staden, detailed his account as a junior engineer in South Africa.

Read more