Good safety performance, successful Turn Around

For Sitech Services and the Chemelot site, 2020 is set to be a record year as far as both the number and scale of Turn Arounds are concerned. Safety, Health & Environment (SHE) performance is a key indicator of successful completion. What have we learned from the Turn Arounds in 2019?

Focus and positive attention are worthwhile
“There is a relationship between SHE performance and the overall performance of a Turn Around,” notes Marc Dassen, CEO of Sitech. “This is also reflected in the Turn Arounds in 2019, which all ran almost perfectly as far as safety is concerned, in spite of the enormous workload and the time pressure. It all comes down to focus. It all starts in the preparation stage. With ENTER, our online platform for onboarding and training personnel, new employees learn what requirements we set regarding safe working. Even during the Turn Around, we constantly devote positive attention to safety – it features in many of our communications, including during toolbox meetings and Last Minute Risk Analyses (LMRA). We also ensure additional supervision and safety scores are published on a daily basis.”

"Our aim is to be the safest site in Western Europe by 2025: we are willing and able to achieve that, and it is also necessary."

Loek Radix, Executive Director Chemelot

Promoting safety through culture
All companies on the Chemelot site have joined forces to promote safety. Some of the reasons for this were the recommendations by the Dutch Safety Board made in 2018. “Chemelot wants not only to be the most sustainable and competitive site in Western Europe but also the safest,” says Loek Radix, Executive Director Chemelot. “We have developed the ‘Samen Bewust Veilig’ safety promotion program with the companies based here and their permanent contractors. We hope to use it to improve safety through cultural change, among other things. Not through repression, but by placing an emphasis on intrinsic motivation. This exists naturally, because no one wants to work in an unsafe situation. If a company regards safety as important and gives personnel the capacity, they will correct one another’s behavior and help one another.

Translating points for learning into daily routine
“We have already taken steps in the right direction during the past year,” Loek continues. “The strength of our approach exists mainly in our joint approach and the fact that we call one another to account on matters of safe conduct. This is evident in the positive SHE performance during Turn Arounds, among other things. In one sense, it is easier to perform well, as 90 to 95% of all incidents are attributable to human behavior. This is easier to influence in a project-based environment than during normal business operations. What is important now is to translate the points for learning into the daily routine.”

Taking residents’ perception seriously
Safety is subjective, and that is evident, for example, in local residents’ feelings regarding safety at the Chemelot site. “Objectively speaking, the chemical industry is perhaps the safest environment to work in,” states Marc. “Considerable attention is paid to safety because of the potential risks. Yet local residents do not always recognize this, and we need to take those concerns seriously.” “This is why we are curious as to the outcomes of the study that will be conducted by the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) together with authorities and the business community,” adds Loek. “Among other things, it will examine people’s feelings regarding environmental safety on the basis of a ‘perception meter’. The results of this study will enable us to take targeted action to improve this perception of safety.”

Full of confidence as a record year approaches
Both Loek and Marc are full of confidence when looking forward to the large number of Turn Arounds in 2020, including when it comes to SHE aspects of health and the environment. “We are increasingly aware of how our activities may have an impact on water quality, for example,” says Loek. “That requires alertness and open communication with the relevant companies on Chemelot and the authorities.” As far as safety is concerned, Marc concludes, “the recommendations and actions arising from the ‘Samen Bewust Veilig’ program will continue to be implemented in 2020. This will make the change visible in an increasingly tangible way.”

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