Safety in shutdown management

Feb 18, 2020

Safety is essential in shutdown management.

Controlling maintenance costs and keeping production assets in top working condition are some of the main requirements when looking for reliable maintenance and shutdown management.

Valmet’s maintenance services include planning, executing and managing development and maintenance actions as well as managing spare parts, which includes implementing annual shutdowns. Both own and outsourced resources are optimally utilized for minimizing unnecessary costs, and schedule overruns and downtime.

Safety is essential in shutdown management. Valmet is committed to improving the health, safety and environmental performance of its operations and of the industries it serves.

Routines ensure safety

Petteri Nousiainen from Valmet is responsible for development related to health, safety and the environment of Valmet’s Services business line, and he has participated in implementing safe shutdown management.

“During a week-long annual shutdown at a customer mill, there may be thousands of people from hundreds of different companies working on the site. Valmet and our subcontractors work on dozens of different jobs around the clock. An enormous number of demanding tasks must be carried out safely in a short period of time,” Nousiainen says.

Different routines exist to ensure the safety in shutdown management, and everyone has a personal responsibility for following these routines and improving them.

Systematic way to prevent injuries

Before going to the site, all the project managers and worksite supervisors will attend to common toolbox meeting to go through all the safety actions in shutdown management. The supervisors are also obliged to discuss the topics with their teams.

According to Nousiainen, clear communication of common rules, individual responsibility, effective planning, and good coordination on site are crucial to achieving incident-free shutdowns.

“Ensuring that all supervisors prepare job-specific safety plans and risk assessments for all workers under the Valmet umbrella lets us work systematically to prevent injuries. Before starting their shift, every single person working on the site must fill in a Think About Safety form. This two-minute safety check aims to ensure that risks have been adequately assessed and that there are no new conditions to consider before starting work,” he says.

Right to return home safe and healthy

In Nousiainen’s view, safety culture is put into action through talking to people face-to-face. The safety routines in shutdown management are discussed between Valmet, contractors and customers on a regular basis.

“Safety kick-off meetings, toolbox talks, and safety walkthroughs and discussions all aim to engage people in safety at work. Positive interaction is key. People need to feel that they are cared about. We all have the right to return home from work safe and healthy, every day.”

According to Nousiainen, Valmet’s comprehensive safety work in shutdown management has resulted in safer workplace and improving the motivation for everyone working with shutdown management, as they know that they are cared for and that their employer focuses strongly on safety. 

“Our safety practices have received only good feedback. Especially our policy of having the same rules for both our own employees and suppliers is very much appreciated.” 

In the future, Valmet plans to improve the safety collaboration even more between the customers, employees and suppliers.