Shutdowns are an essential part of maintaining the reliability and performance of energy refineries, manufacturing plants and other industrial production facilities. But despite the clear need for shutdowns, any disruption to production – planned or unplanned – can be high risk, costly and complex to manage.
Jeff Allen, Coates Hire National Manager for Industrial Services, believes planning is critical to overcoming these challenges and delivering safe, time and cost-effective shutdowns.
“Planning is the most important factor in mitigating risk, maintaining safety standards and alleviating the uncertainty that naturally comes with any halt in production,” says Allen. “When we have the opportunity to connect with clients early in the planning stages, we can help to shape the delivery of successful shutdowns, and ensure smooth transitions back into production once work is complete.”
So how can planning improve the outcome of your next shutdown?
Improving safety, minimising risk
Shutdowns can create a variety of new workplace hazards, due to the fact that:
  • Work schedules are tight; and
  • A large new labour force resides on site; and 
  • Many new (or “non-routine”) activities must be performed.
The planning stage of a shutdown is critical for developing appropriate risk management and mitigation strategies. Planning allows risk assessments to be conducted for all possible hazards, with a particular focus on high risk activities like elevated work; work in confined spaces; electrical safety; pipeline safety; and lockout/tagout safety procedures. Safety communication is another important component of shutdown planning.
Coates Hire is experienced in the planning and safe delivery of shutdowns – bolstered by our own commitment to put safety first and achieve zero harm.
Planning for the unexpected
Shutdowns can be unpredictable. And when work schedules change it can quickly blow out project budgets and cause lengthy delays.
Whilst it can be difficult to plan for all possible outcomes, detailed contingency planning can minimise the impact of “unknowns” on project schedules and budgets. A thorough and informed planning process also makes it easier to schedule maintenance and determine the labour, materials and budget required to support a shutdown.
As well as planning for the unknown, choosing the right project partners can help you to respond quickly to unexpected events and meet changing project demands. As Australia’s largest and most established equipment hire business, Coates Hire offers expert advice and an unrivalled range of equipment – available anywhere in Australia. So when the unexpected does happen, we can quickly connect customers with quality equipment and expertise to keep projects moving.
Seeking expertise
Shutdowns can be challenging and complex processes to undertake. Knowing when to bring in expert advice, and who to partner with can influence the success of your next shutdown. 
As a trusted advisor and experienced solutions provider to heavy industry, Coates Hire supports all stages of shutdown planning and delivery. Our turnkey solutions include:
  • Detailed project planning – including budgeting, scheduling of work, equipment, materials and human resource specification.
  • Training and Verification of Competency from our Registered Training Organisation.
  • Onsite tool shops for hiring and maintaining all tools and equipment.
  • Transport and logistics for heavy equipment (including onsite refuelling).
  • Temporary site accommodation and amenities.
  • Elevated work platforms, site lighting, generators, power distribution, welders, and hydraulic torque tools.
  • Consumables and other specialist services. 
  • Tracking of client equipment, assets, and work packs. 
  • Detailed utilisation diagnostics via Coates Hire’s proprietary software.
  • Extensive feedback of lessons learned to improve efficiency for future shutdowns. 
To continue bringing value to our clients Coates Hire actively looks for ways to grow our shutdown service offering. 
“We invest in developing best practice technology, processes and lessons learned across multiple sectors to help clients meet the challenges and complexities of shutdowns and maintenance events,” Allen explains. “We then share our knowledge and experience with clients, through turnkey solutions designed to complement their existing project teams and expertise.”
Are you properly prepared for your next shutdown? What are your greatest challenges in managing maintenance events? Do you recruit expert advice to inform your planning? Please share your thoughts and feedback via LinkedIn. 
If you are attending the 2019 Shutdowns, Turnarounds and Outages conference in Perth, pop down and say hello – the Coates Hire team will be attending and sponsoring the event from November 11-13. Alternatively, please contact a member of the Coates Hire team on 13 15 52.

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