US companies should train operators to prevent losses - consultant

19 March 2013 22:05  [Source: ICIS news]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--More than $100bn/year (€77bn/year) is lost worldwide to abnormal events in the refining, chemical and petrochemical industries, an energy consultant said on Tuesday.

While 20% are design-related losses, about 40% are human related and 40% are equipment related, said Jerry Isch with KBC Advanced Technologies.

About 60% overlap and are human- and equipment-related losses that are directly associated with shift team effectiveness, he said during the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturer (AFPM) annual meeting.

Operator performance can impact other costs such as legal process outsourcing, mean time between failures, repair costs and energy, Isch said.

It can also affect product specifications, catalyst life and optimisation, he said.

KBC encourages companies to take an andragogical approach, or one consisting of learning strategies that focus on adults, to design operator training programmes.

Its basic operator training ensures that the employee understand and support the plant vision, maintain awareness hazards present in the processing units, progress to first field equipment operator position, effectively transition to a shift work lifestyle and efficiently complete the training associated with the first job assignment, Isch said.

A good field operator training course would equip the employee with the knowledge to effectively support the process control operator, monitor process equipment to identify pending failures, support preventive maintenance activities and troubleshoot process equipment issues, he said.

A console operator should have the skills to maintain the process at steady state, achieve all production goals and targets, proactively troubleshoot potential process upsets, coordinate unit activities, effectively manage abnormal situations and contribute to process optimisation efforts, Isch said.

The AFPM annual meeting ends on Tuesday.

($1 = €0.77)

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By: Tracy Dang
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