We are all living through extremely challenging times. As the situation around Covid-19 impacts on us personally and our families, we are all learning how to work differently, and, more often than not, remotely from the colleagues and assets that have been a constant in our working lives.
For operators of high-hazard plant, ‘business as usual’ in terms of inspection management, may not be feasible in light of these unprecedented factors. Shutdown / Turnaround scopes involving scores of contract personnel converging on a plant to deliver inspection and maintenance activities – whilst applying social distancing – is seemingly an unrealistic option for now. Operators are now considering options to ensure that plant integrity continues to be maintained, whilst ensuring the welfare of all stakeholders.
Axiom are on hand to advise on appropriate means of meeting your regulatory requirements and protecting your people and assets, whilst optimising intervention. Examples of this include:
- Asset Prioritisation Exercises. What is the real ‘Achilles Heel’ on your plant? In these trying times, where can you get the most ‘bang for your buck’ in an optimised inspection scope? At Axiom, we can work with you to undertake a holistic review of your plant and existing inspection scopes, to ensure that, with a shorter intervention period and potentially reduced manning, you are addressing only the most crucial integrity and business risks. Our multi-disciplinary team – including team members with notable experience on the ‘client side’ for an alternative take – have the knowledge of asset degradation and through-life management to offer a pragmatic, rationalised strategy.
- Postponement. The work highlighted above will provide the confidence that interventions can be pushed out or eliminated, channelling limited resources towards the right areas. Nonetheless, for Pressure Systems, formal notification to the HSE will be required should there be a desire to deviate from an upcoming ‘due date’ during this uncertain period. This can be done once and once only. Axiom, as SAFed members with a link through this to the HSE’s position, are uniquely placed to advise our clients on requirements surrounding the preparation of a robust postponement safety case that will ensure full regulatory compliance. For more complex cases, this can be augmented by specialist engineering input from our Mechanical and Materials teams.
- Non-invasive inspection. So, as can be seen, support is on hand to ensure that you are only assessing what needs to be assessed, but are you inspecting these items in the most efficient manner? Targeted non-invasive inspection (NII) is another means of both supporting a postponement safety case, and bringing still-scheduled ‘invasive’ Shutdown / Turnaround inspection work outside of a congested ‘standard’ inspection window. NII could encompass nothing more involved than a detailed external visual examination, but the latest specialist NDT techniques can provide previously unimaginable levels of insight which, combined, may eliminate the need to open up an asset. Axiom are already working with a number of clients in a similar manner to keep their inspection / integrity programme moving, and bring tasks outside of a bottleneck situation with potentially-compromised Shutdown / Turnaround manning levels.
So really, the message right now is that we are all being pushed to ‘think smarter’ in the current climate. We are here to work with you to explore alternative strategies that get what needs to be done ‘done’ at this time. However, some alternative thinking around how we plan and deliver inspection may form the basis of an optimised integrity management strategy for the longer-term. We’d be delighted to be a part of setting you on that path to maximising your assets and minimising risk – through minimising intervention!