In 2012, a Food Processing Plant that we provided engineering services for, asked if we could provide Onsite Safety Services to augment their in-house Plant Safety Manager during their annual summer outage with about 350 construction workers being onsite. 

As we have Trained Safety Professionals at Pearl Engineering, we were able to accommodate this client and have been providing this service for them ever since both locally and across the country, as well as for other clients in other industries. Our onsite safety services are greatly valued and appreciated.

So why do this and what are the benefits of augmenting a plant’s safety department with outside services? 

The following are some answers these questions:

First and foremost, the safety of all who are onsite including: plant employees, contractor employees, suppliers and any visitors is dependent upon a plant managed outage safety program and the professional who administers it. 

Many organizations require at least a 1:50 ratio of safety practitioners to workers during high risk activities such as outage construction. So, there may not be enough of the in-house safety professionals available. This is especially true if the outage work is being performed in multiple shifts, which is often the case to minimize the downtime and maximize the plant’s output and profitability.  

The in-house plant safety professional may be specialized in only their plant’s specific operations and maintenance and not be versed in the construction safety regulations and practices.

Potential penalties, fines, plant shutdowns and losses in production are all possible results of an onsite injury.  

Many of us at Pearl Engineering have worked on numerous outages in different industries. We understand that to minimize significant production stoppages and income losses; outage construction work requires the integration of multiple contractors often working in the same close quarters, in dirty or wet conditions, during long hours, and around the clock. In addition, the urgency of an expedited project and the congested nature of such a project opens up far too many possibilities for safety precautions to fall through the cracks resulting in an injury. 

Regardless of the cause or blame for an accident, we understand that it will still fall back onto the plant owner as the responsible party. We have also seen instances where reliance on the individual contractor’s safety professional only protected the contractor but not the plant owner regarding liability.  

Because of these accident and liability prone conditions: we believe that a third-party on-site construction safety professional can be an advocate for worker safety, ensure the proper safety precautions are being taken, and protect the plant owner from the results of a work loss injury.

The following are some examples of our on-site construction safety services.

  • Educate and implement the Plants and OSHA Safety Procedures to outside contractors;
  • Act as the liaison between the Plant safety manager, contractor safety managers, and project leads;
  • Review and advise contractor’s safe work plans for construction onsite;
  • Make routine safety examinations of the contractors’ projects onsite;
  • Document any construction accidents and reportable injuries;
  • Assist the plant safety team in issuing hot work, Lock Out/Tag Out (LOTO), confined space entry, critical lift plans or other safe work permits;
  • Review of site construction work activities such as for fire hazards, isolation of work zones, and fall protection;
  • Perform accident investigation and revision of procedures, as directed, and needed.

Please let us know if we can help your plants outage safety and protect the plant owner in any way.