Shift relief is a critical part of daily operations. Shift relief is the mechanism that creates a sustained awareness of changing plant conditions and potential problem areas. It also enables operators to plan and prioritize their shift activities. Unfortunately it appears that at most petrochemical plants, shift relief is an activity that is seldom given proper attention.
Over the last fifteen years, Beville Engineering has observed and recorded shift relief activity as part of Beville Engineering’s job sampling process. Job sampling provides a wealth of information pertaining to the nature and duration of job related tasks operators complete. For those job samples that contained shift relief activities, the following table summarizes the duration of time operators spent communicating shift relief information.
Surprisingly, the longest average amount of time spent on shift relief by a particular job category was 7.8 minutes for Head Operators. Given that approximately 95% of all samples fall within two standard deviations of the mean and essentially all fall within three, the most time spent on shift relief across all of the 371 samples was 25.2 minutes.
Other industries, such as the nuclear power industry, spend considerably more time discussing shift relief than that observed in the petrochemical industry. Nuclear power industry shift relief practices are highly systematic and tightly controlled. In most nuclear plants, the control board operators follow a strict progression of first “walking down” the control panels and reviewing all controllers that are off normal and alarms that are ‘in’, as well as all equipment configurations. Operators then review the shift logs and active and completed maintenance. Finally, the discussion covers the shift objectives and work to be done on shift. In the nuclear industry it is common for a shift relief to last 45-60 minutes, some ten times longer than that found in the petrochemical industry.
Deficiencies in shift relief manifest themselves as incidents and accidents that occur when processes are not in their normal modes of operation, such as when processes are starting up or shutting down or during times of high maintenance. Managers should consider adopting shift relief practices similar to those found in the nuclear power industry, especially when plants are not in their normal modes of operation.
Copyright © 1999 Beville Engineering, Inc., All Rights Reserved
RELATED EXTERNAL MEDIA
|Console Operator Staffing Workload And Automation - ISA Automation Week 2012||ISA.org|
|How Good is Your Operator's Mental Model?||Mynah|
|Modularizing Emergency Procedures for Increased Ease of Use and Updating||OperatorPerformance.org|
|Operator Performance Takes Center Stage||Chemical Processing|
|Operator Training Gains Ground||Chemical Processing|
|Operators Get More Help||Chemical Processing|
|Simple, Strong and Easy-to-Use||Control Global|
|Teach Operators to Make the Right Decisions Under Fire||SustainablePlant.com|
|The Keys to Operator Performance||ControlDesign.com|
This year's Fall meeting for the Center for Operator Performance will be October 24-26 in Corpus Christi. For more information, please contact Lisa Via. Guests are always welcome!
Our summer newsletter is now available. Click here!
Take our short survey on operator span of control. Click here (new window)
David Strobhar's book, "Human Factors in Process Plant Operation," is now available in both hardcover and Kindle e-book.
Copyright © 1996-2018 Beville Engineering, Inc. All rights reserved. (937)434-1093. Beville@Beville.com