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  • Writer's pictureCraig Drabyk

Safety During Commissioning and Startup

One of the most dangerous times on a manufacturing and/or process project is when it’s nearing the end and things like bump and check rotation, loop check, startup and commissioning are being performed. With multiple electrical, instrumentation, mechanical and plumbing subcontractors wrapping up work, commissioning agents performing testing, and vendors coming in from out of town for startup, various activities are taking place in different areas and parts of the system. Crews that may not be aware of what other trades are doing must be particularly vigilant about safety measures and procedures that go well beyond standard lockout/tagout and PPE.

First and foremost, tight coordination and communication among MEP contractors and crews is essential. Startup and commissioning teams should meet twice a day, first in a huddle meeting at start of shift each morning to discuss what activities will occur, when, and by whom, and at the end of the day to go over what was accomplished and what needs to be addressed on the second shift to ensure smooth sailing the next day.

Clear points of contact must be assigned including a point person to coordinate among the various trades following a chain of command set in the first huddle meeting. These personnel should be equipped with radios to stay in constant contact throughout the day to ensure that everyone stays updated as to what is taking place and what may have changed due to unforeseen circumstances. It’s important to inform others when applying power to a control panel, turning on steam or compressed air to a piece of equipment, pressure testing piping in a specific area of the building, running or circulating hot or chilled water for startup, and opening or closing control valves. Team members must be assigned to cover the area to spot problems and anomalies such as leaks, noise in motor pumps or fans, breakers tripping, or alarms sounding. With good communication and coordination, procedures can and should be canceled or postponed at a moment’s notice if a safety issue arises.

About Omni

Omni Instrumentation & Electrical Services, Inc., located in New Jersey and Maryland, is a premier instrumentation and electrical contractor, providing superior total care solutions since 1986. Services include instrument installation, tubing installation, instrument calibration, control loop testing, startup and commissioning, power and lighting, process control wiring, BMS wiring, telecommunications and data wiring, fire alarm wiring, security wiring, process network wiring, and control panel fabrication. Omni Instrumentation & Electrical Services, Inc., is certified in Foundation Fieldbus, Profibus, DeviceNet and ASI-Bus installation.

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