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RE: Work Permits


Pete Bisila

I can certainly understand your frustration.  Both functions are a necessary and important part of running a safe and reliable refinery.  High quality operator rounds are necessary to detect deviations in the operation and make corrections before things get out of hand.  Maintenance needs good review of their work permits to ensure the risks and operating conditions are properly addressed.  We have struggled with this as well. What seems to work is having a well managed work process where the crafts stick to a schedule that has been communicated to the operators.  We publish a weekly schedule and a daily schedule, and require higher level approval (Shift manager) to deviate from the approved daily schedule.  Operations generally has a list of jobs that maintenance will be coming to get permits for such that the night shift can get the equipment ready and locked out.  During shutdowns, it also helps to have designated permit writers to funnel all the work permits through so they aren’t being distracted from operating the unit.  There are times when the craftspeople have to sit and wait for their permits until an operator is available to review the job with them.
I suggest you share your concerns with your unit manager to see if you can find a compromise to avoid shortcutting rounds or rushing through permit writing.

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