One way to reduce the likelihood of accidents is by reducing the likelihood of falling behind schedule. It is not realistic to think we can speed up without impacting safety. Whether the number of incidents increases or not, certainly we agree the chances of incidents increase. We perform detailed risk analyses on our turnaround plan long before we are ready to implement it. But how do you perform a complete and accurate risk analysis on a recovery plan long before you need it?

First, let’s find out how we reduce the need for a recovery plan. How can we avoid falling behind schedule, getting in a hurry and adversely impacting safety?

  • Know where you are in terms of job progress. Poor status updates can result in delayed recognition of a problem. Often, by the time reality sets in, options for recovery are less effective and more expensive. Quality field reports should be line item updates from the most recent look-ahead schedule. The crew leader should report the time the job started, the number of people assigned to the job, how long they worked, the percent complete for the job at shift’s end and anything unusual that happened. Those who say you cannot get this level of detail out of contractors in the field should take note that some of their competitors are already requiring this information and getting it. Beyond getting accurate schedule compliance data, the added bonus is being able to enter accurate actual hours into your schedule, thus allowing you to run timely and accurate productivity curves.
  • Drive schedule compliance with a passion. Granted, there was a full-wall review of the schedule and every stakeholder made all necessary corrections and adjustments and agreed the schedule was “IFC” (Issue for Construction) – in other words, ‘this is exactly how we plan to execute in the field’. This is the place where accountability for performance must be placed. The degree of schedule compliance equals the degree of schedule success.
    1. Your schedule compliance data has to be fed directly from your schedule—no rounding up or down or any other adjustments—confidence in the data is key.
    2. The schedule compliance reports must be widely published throughout the turnaround team on a daily basis and central in discussions.
    3. Planned start times should primarily drive the conversation with contractors. “Did you start the scheduled jobs at the times agreed?”
    4. Planned finish times should primarily drive the conversation with execution coordinators since they are tasked with driving performance and removing hurdles to keep the schedule on track.

Side note: Should we bother tracking schedule compliance even on hard dollar contracts? The answer is ‘definitely yes’. Hard dollar work is when you have the most confidence the contractor is doing everything he can to work at peak performance. Planning templates should be based on hard dollar performance, not on time and material performance. The goal is to drive time and material performance to the same level of proficiency as hard dollar performance.

  • Keep discovery work and non-mechanical activities off the critical path whenever possible.
    1. Discovery work should be worked in parallel to the critical path by a “hot shot” crew if possible. The normal crew should be kept on plan.
    2. Items such as permits, scaffolding, insulation and such should not be allowed to drive the mechanical timeline, but done prior to the start of the mechanical shift.

Everyone holds safety as the highest priority. Keeping your turnarounds on track will mean better safety performance. That makes for a more successful turnaround for everyone.