Shift to Effortless Handovers, Improved Operations & Safety11/18/2020
Author Ernest Hemingway had a fair point when he famously said: “I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.”
In listening to P2’s customers in oil and gas, mining and resource operations over the last 20 years, one common issue rises to the top of their concerns. To successfully manage operations, they want to know the best, most efficient way to capture, manage, handover and communicate their mission-critical information, especially the data that has direct impact on production and safety.
In our business, this practice is known as shift log and shift handover. Effectively, it’s the transfer of knowledge between teams in different functional areas, or from an outgoing colleague to an incoming one, with the assumption that at the end of the day, everyone involved has a shared thought process and common understanding so that tasks and activities are well coordinated and prioritized across teams.
One thing we do know for sure: Having a comprehensive shift log and handover solution really does matter in terms of improving safety, communication and production efficiencies. In fact, as history has shown us, miscommunication of maintenance issues over a shift change can have serious health and safety implications, and in some cases, make the difference between life and death.
Case in point: Back in 1988, a huge explosion and subsequent fires destroyed the Piper Alpha oil platform located in the North Sea about 120 miles northeast of Aberdeen, Scotland. Tragically, the blast killed 167 men; 61 others escaped and survived. Later, investigators found that the accident came down to incorrect logbooks and poor communication from one shift to the next; a worker on the latter shift opened a gas valve that had been purposefully shut.
Different Ways to Log
Throughout a shift, operators work within their functional area and as changes are being made throughout the day, or as operating events are identified and actioned, they log them and then classify the logs. Some log items might involve HSE compliance, others may have to do with process control. In any case, operators are changing set points or isolating data. Doing so is less about capturing information in a way they can best search for later, and more about the immediate handover process for the next shift. The operators involved in the first shift thoroughly review the status or state of operation with the next shift.
Quite often, log items like a production downtime event are flagged for special attention as part of a daily production summary and are important for shift supervisors review. The quality of the operations logbooks you keep, along with clear communication at all times, are the most essential factors to consider in ensuring that you maintain a shift handover process that meets safety standards and achieves the highest possible level of production efficiency.
Communication is Key
Customers tell us the major problem they experience with shift log and shift handovers revolves around communication. Some like to include all commentary into one big log, which makes it difficult for them to collaborate around. Others don’t have one system to rely on to store data that would answer basic questions like: Who is on leave? What is the short list of phone numbers for teammates who need to be called?
Shift handovers need to be taken seriously because there’s no room for error. This is a mission-critical function that has a direct impact on production and safety. Also, logged information must be accurate, because those inputs form the foundation of operational decision making.
At P2 Energy Solutions, we advise customers to consider adopting a system that provides structured and comprehensive handovers between shifts and swings. Data entry should be simple and efficient, source systems integrated to avoid double handling and tasks and activities seamlessly coordinated and prioritized across teams and departments.
About The Author
Grant Eggleton is P2's Vice President of Global Production Solutions. In his role, Grant is responsible for overseeing the delivery of integrated solutions that streamline business processes and eliminate silos among teams. Grant has worked in the real-time production space ever since he graduated from Edith Cowan University, where he earned a degree in Computer Science. His work on well surveillance and data virtualization has been published by IChemE and in MMS Magazine. In his spare time, Grant enjoys playing golf, traveling, and deep-sea fishing. He’s also a certified open-water diver.