Maintaining equipment to avoid emergency situations
It might not be what you think of first when you think of preparedness but at Shell Puget Sound Refinery we prepare by maintaining. Learn more about each step and whose job it is to keep hundreds thousands of pieces of equipment maintained, inspected and working properly to help fuel life in the Pacific Northwest.
Maintenance equals preparedness. That’s what colleagues share repeatedly as they talk about how Shell Puget Sound Refinery (PSR) staff keeps the site prepared for emergencies.
It’s similar for any of us who own a house/car/boat – we want to take care of those oil changes, the roof, the fiberglass before leaks or cracks happen so it doesn’t turn into an emergency situation.
At PSR it’s what we focus on every day, not just during Preparedness Month. We put preventative measures in place, so emergency situations don’t happen, but we’re trained up in case it does.
When we think of preparedness, we often first jump to emergency responders as the ones who deal with emergencies but at PSR, we hope our emergency response teams never even have to get involved.
“The name of the game is on the engineering side, operations and maintenance,” said Mechanical, Electrical, Civil and Reliability Manager, Justin Munoz.
It starts with our engineers who do reliability centered maintenance (RCM) studies to determine what preventative maintenance needs to be done, on what equipment and when. Members of our planning team then take those RCM tasks and create work orders. Those work orders are released on a certain schedule to our various maintenance teams (electrical, metal trades, etc.) to complete. In addition to the dozens of work orders maintenance teams may complete each week (some take a couple of hours while some could take a day or three), they do regular inspections too.
For example, our electrical team will use sophisticated predictive equipment to help see inside of motors and infrared cameras to check for hotspots in wiring. Meanwhile, our operators know their equipment inside and out and are empowered at PSR to put safe operations first. If something isn’t operating as it normally does or something doesn’t seem right, they speak up.
“Employees are empowered to make decisions if something isn’t right. Safety is the priority,” said Instrument Electrical Specialist, Jim Lee.
The unexpected can happen
Of course, sometimes no matter how consistently those maintenance and inspection tasks take place, there is that piece of equipment that stops working when it isn’t expected.
That’s why another level of preparedness at PSR is having redundancies in place. In case something isn’t right, our operators can adjust operations, work with colleagues to troubleshoot any issues and make repairs while keeping production moving and everyone safe. If the unexpected happens with a piece of equipment more often than expected, our maintenance technicians work with our engineers to adjust the RCM schedule and increase the frequency of the maintenance timeline.
No small task
From bolts to booms to storage tanks – there are hundreds of thousands of parts to be maintained and inspected each day, week and year - and each and every team member at PSR is crucially important to daily operations.
“We employ well educated and skilled people in respective disciplines in order to manager equipment in the best way,” said Mechanical, Electrical, Civil and Reliability Manager, Justin Munoz.
The entire team knows how important their job is, works to maintain all equipment big and small to avoid emergencies and focuses on safety 365 days a year, not just during preparedness month – as we are committed to creating a culture of care in- and-outside the PSR fence.
“Not only do we want to go home safe, but our friends and our family live right outside of here,” said Instrument Electrical Specialist, Jim Lee. We care deeply about the community and the environment. It’s not just what’s happening inside this plant.”