Joan’s Unit Turn-around
Joan was both looking forward to and dreading her unit’s turnaround (TAR) next month. A turnaround is when her unit shuts down for repairs, installation of new equipment and instrumentation, plus non-destructive testing of piping and vessels for metal thickness and safety of the piping and vessels. A turnaround for the average sized process unit takes five to six weeks and it is a high pressure time as management and supervisors work to keep the TAR finish date on time if not earlier and on budget if not under budget. A process unit is built to make money and when it isn’t running and producing product on-specification it is losing money. Joan’s unit will be down for TAR for 6 weeks (42 days).
While the unit is down Joan and the other operators will be doing lockout tagout (LOTO) on the unit’s pumps and vessels. They will keep surveillance on the 50 or more contractors who will be on the unit doing the non-destructive testing, welding, heat exchanger cleansing, installing new cable trays and instrumentation, etc. Joan knows that the contractors aren’t as well trained in safety as operators are so she will have to monitor them carefully to enforce safety regulations about PPE, fall protection, and plant standard operating procedures (SOPS) such as not blocking designated emergency evacuation routes, such as aisles or passage ways with boxes, insulation and equipment. Another of Joan’s job during this time is inspecting finished work such as instrument air hooked up correctly to control valves, all installed valves in the closed position (think of what would happen if three or four valves were left in the fully open position and flammable or toxic chemicals were pumped though the piping where those valves are mounted). Joan will check that all blinds are installed before the contractors arrive on the unit, and check that they are all removed before they start up the unit. There are dozens of other things that Joan and her fellow operators will be responsible for. Instrument technicians will also be on the unit inspecting the instrumentation work being done by the contractors.
If Joan finds a contractor violating safety rules she will warn them of their infraction; if they continue to violate the safety rules she will call her supervisor who in turn will call the contractor supervisor and tell them the violating employee is to be escorted out of the plant and not allowed back in. He is in effect fired. The last turnaround Joan had a problem with a contractor who tended to ignore her instructions and was reluctant and slow to follow them. Joan could see that he was insulted at having to take orders from a woman. After her third warning the contractor was removed from the worksite.
If an accident happens to contractor in the plant that counts as an OSHA accident that affects the plant’s safety record. Plant management has made it clear they don’t want any accidents. During the TAR Joan will be outside supervising the contractors in her area whether it is raining, 100°F, or 40°F. The TAR has to be completely on time or earlier, not later. Her unit was built to make money. Management doesn’t want excuses; it want results.
Joan looks forward to the TAR because she is going to make a lot of extra money. She will be paid her regular pay ($34/hr) for a 40-hour week and time and a half pay ($51/hr) for every overtime hour. The bad part about the TAR is that she will work 19 12-hour days in a row and get one day off, then back to 19 days on. It will continue that way until the TAR is done. After the first 19 12-hour days Joan doesn’t care about the extra money. She wants a life, not this routine of just work, go home eat, spend a few minutes with her two kids who are in junior high, then pack a lunch for tomorrow and go to sleep. She will barely see her children because they are in school when she is working days. Her husband is an insurance salesman and she will not see him much because when she is home on days and working nights, he is working at his office. This can lead to arguments and hurt feelings.
TARs are part of the job. Thankfully, they happen only every three to five years. You can make a lot of money but will endure a lot of psychological and physical stress.
NOTE: Show your math or the problem will be given a zero.
1. Type a one-page report about how this document has affected you about being an operator or instrument technician. Double space the lines and leave one-inch margins. I will take off one point for each misspelled word, for each punctuation error, and for poor grammar.
2. Calculate how much overtime Joan will make on her turnaround using the following data. Circle your answer. (Hint: read the last paragraph on the first page carefully.)
TAR = six weeks (42 days)
42 days x 12 hours per shift = 504 total hours of TAR time
Regular pay = 40 hours a week at $34/hour
Overtime pay = $51/hr
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