Production and manufacturing site for industries such as food service, automotive, apparel or anything else that requires the space, for obvious reasons, must occasionally undergo maintenance, repairs and sometimes even additions. When this occurs, production needs to be stopped on a temporary basis for the work to be completed.

These businesses hate this. Why? Because time spent with the production line paused is time money cannot be made. So, it makes sense that these businesses would want to get back up and running fast. This, however, is problematic and opens the door for potential incidents or accidents to occur as they scramble to complete the work.

To avoid this, companies often hire a third-party safety consultant, like Pearl Engineering’s Scott Burkart, to oversee the maintenance operations from start to finish.

“When equipment replacements and maintenance occur, typically you’ll have to bring in many different contractors, sometimes with up to 20 workers apiece,” Scott said. “That is in addition to the normal workforce as well. That is a lot of people and a lot of potential chaos in this kind of high pressure and high stakes situation.

“With everything going on, most of the time no one is really looking out for each other and are focused on their respective tasks. That’s where it really pays to have an appointed third-party step in to help make sure the process is safe and smooth.”

Safety Training

One of the biggest advantages of having a third-party safety officer present is that it enforces OSHA and Company safety practice standards for anyone involved in any on-site activities.

With a safety officer present, every contractor involved needs to have completed safety training beforehand and needs to be verified by the officer. If training has not been completed or the contractor has not been verified with the proper documentation, the worker and/ or the contractor may be removed from the job.

“Toolbox Talks”

Another primary duty of third-party safety officer is to lead daily meetings to coordinate with all contractors. These meetings give them the opportunity to coordinate work with all the contractors,  set priorities,  to follow up on training and identify any gaps that need to be addressed.

Just as important, however, is that these meetings give the entire team the opportunity to coordinate work. If let’s say, the day’s task for one contractor includes operate a crane or lift and another’s is cleaning a tank located directly underneath the crane, the safety officer can help set priority.

Scott refers to these sessions as “Toolbox Talks.”

“The chance for everyone to talk and set a plan really helps minimize the potential for an incident to occur,” Scott said.

Experience and Training

Probably most important to the shutdown process, a third-party safety officer simply brings a wealth of experience, training and, because they are an outside party, a completely impartial perspective. Their primary goal is to keep the work progressing, sure, but to also make sure the procedures are done correctly and safely.

Their impartial position makes them ideal for enacting safety protocols and acting as a liaison between the company and contractors.

Third-party officers like Scott are also capable of handing out necessary permits like “Hot Work Permits” and other such necessities that may come up along the way as well as reviewing action plans, safety procedures and following up on necessary documentation.

Scott Burkart is a dedicated and experienced safety consultant and is available to act as a third-party safety officer for your facilities.

For questions or inquiries, contact Scott at, or learn more about confined space safety here.