Plants could experience shutdowns due to three main reasons: mechanical breakdowns, electrical disruptions or power failures, and improper maintenance. Aside from these three scenarios, there can be other causes of an unexpected shutdown, which happen to almost one refinery a day.
In the most recent numbers from the Department of Energy’s Energy Assurance Daily reports, there were a total of over 1,700 shutdowns in the United States between 2009 and 2012, 92 percent of which were unplanned. The causes of these unplanned shutdowns were traced to leaks in piping and other units.
The Importance of Safety
There are numerous trusted companies that could aid a plant during a shutdown. If the cause of a shutdown is a fuel shortage, for instance, there are emergency fueling services available to avoid this from happening. On the other hand, plants must be able to realize the importance of avoiding these unplanned shutdowns by focusing on safety practices.
Avoiding unplanned shutdowns entails identifying factors that may contribute to failure, evaluating these risks, then developing and implementing changes that promotes safety. Moreover, there are certain benefits when manufacturers assess and improve their safety culture and are able to identify site hazards.
Once these plants are willing to commit and invest in safety programs, not only will they avoid the hazards that come with unplanned shutdowns, but they can also ensure that their employees enjoy safe working environments.