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Maximum safety with the utmost efficiency as a success formula for flawless shut-downs in the chemicals and pharmaceuticals industry. That is the collective goal of sector federations Agoria and essenscia. That is why they have been working on a code of conduct, a document that combines all the useful information and basic concepts from work planning files to ensure smooth and safe shut-downs. Twenty-five businesses in the sector have shared their practical experiences.

For the fifth time, Agoria Contracting and Maintenance and the essenscia Process Safety Academy have organised a workshop about the latest innovations and safety trends regarding shut-downs, sometimes also referred to as turn-arounds. In the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, this type of shut-down or halt is regularly planned in order to carry out necessary maintenance and adjustment work which can only be done when the production installations are not running. When this work is taking place, many external employees from service and contracting companies work hard to complete the tasks.

That is why the accurate transfer of information about the various tasks and specific procedures that must be carried out during the shut-down is of such vital importance. To this end, a comprehensive work planning file or work package is drawn up, summarising all actions and useful details. Experts from Agoria and essenscia, with input from specialists from various businesses from the sector(s), drafted the document together, along with basic rules and standard definitions, in order to come up with generally accepted procedures and concepts. In this way, shut-downs in the industry can run smoothly, safely and efficiently.

In the compilation of the publication, the emphasis lies on developing and sharing best practice within a learning network. The document is structured like a recipe book that provides insights into the most important basic concepts and offers an overview of the primary ‘ingredients’ and ‘recipes’ required for a smooth shut-down. Preparations for specific tasks are clearly set out too, as are the general focus areas that must be considered during shut-downs.

Belgian contracting companies represent the direct employment of 10,000 employees who are primarily active in the chemical, oil and gas industries. This concerns both installation and maintenance work. As far as chemical and pharmaceutical companies are concerned, the safety of man and the environment are paramount in all business activities.

Download the code of best practice for ‘Work planning files for shut-downs’ (only available in Dutch)