I have heard it said that commissioning of a new plant is the most dangerous period in that plants life, whilst I agree its way up there on the list, I do not personally believe it’s the most risky period, however we must address the risks associated with our commissioning activities, so how would we do that?
For me, commissioning risk should be initially considered whilst drafting a philosophy or commissioning strategy document. Here any early know risks to the commissioning effort should be documented with initial mitigation also mentioned. Following on from this a very early risk assessment could be made of those considerations that might affect the planning effort for commissioning, topics may include, logistics, scheduling, manpower, location etc.
Our procedures, for me, should reflect the risks being undertaken for every step in our procedures and hence mitigation built into the way we plan to commission our plants, environmental as well as well-being risk should be considered and incorporated.
The project will usually always have a risk register program running and the commissioning group should actively be involved with the creation of a commissioning section. So how often should we consider the risk register? I would suggest monthly until the commissioning teams work is done.
There may also be a place for the evaluation of risk associated with the testing of trip systems and hard wired shut down systems, be it again a human well-being concern or damage to equipment, so consider your trip systems and risk assess the impact of the testing of such systems.
Finally, one cannot get a permit to work these days rightly until a risk assessment for the tasks being undertaken is conducted, so we as a commissioning team evaluate our risk here also.
Therefore the commissioning team should consider the risk we put our personnel and environment through at many stages in our projects, a serious business and one that should be given careful consideration.
Safe and successful commissioning always…