What is a Facility Closure Checklist?
The closure of an installation or a site involves several tasks to ensure that it does not pose a threat to the environment during the temporary closure. These include the proper disposal or, where appropriate, the safe handling of hazardous waste and materials on-site to prevent contamination with the immediate surroundings and the environment. In many countries, authorities require such measures for sites containing hazardous wastes and materials. As a rule, these primarily include companies in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, waste management and construction sites.
Monitoring a plant closure with a checklist can also be in the interest of other business sectors. For example, to ensure that no fire breaks out on the site after closure. With the help of checklists, appropriate measures can be monitored and, if necessary, early action can be taken if safety precautions are not in place.
This article deals with the following topics:
Types of company shutdowns and facility closure
The type of site closure depends on whether it is a plant where hazardous waste or materials are stored or whether it is a temporary closure of a “normal” site. This includes, for example, facilities that are closed for several days due to company holidays, an outbreak of disease, an epidemic or a pandemic.
Companies with hazardous materials and wastes
Plant managers have two possible scenarios to choose from when shutting down such a plant.
1. Clean decommissioning
In this type of plant closure, the hazardous waste and materials are completely removed. If necessary, contaminated soil and equipment is decontaminated or removed.
2. Decommissioning with the waste on site
This type of plant shutdown is often referred to as “closure of a landfill site”, and therefore mainly concerns landfills and disposal sites. At these locations it is not (completely) possible to remove the waste, which is why the plant is sealed by the competent authority.
Sites and plants which are (temporarily) shut down
Discontinued operations are either permanent or temporary. Again, the aim is to protect the environment from physical damage after closure, but other aspects are also of interest to the company.
1. Protection of the environment
Even if larger plants and buildings are closed forever, there is a long-term threat of danger to the environment. These dangers include, above all, unforeseen fires caused by the aging building electrics and injuries caused by falling or collapsing building fabric.
2. Disclaimer of liability
No matter whether permanent closure or temporary shutdown, an ordered shutdown protects companies from liability claims if damage occurs during the shutdown.
A systematic shutdown has for all companies that shut down their site due to an emergency or company holidays, that after the break it is highly probable that they can restart normal operations.
Temporary closure procedure using a facility closure checklist
Depending on the size of the plant or site, one or more employees are responsible for decommissioning. The process does not only start with the implementation of the decommissioning, but already with its planning for the emergency. The life cycle of a plant shutdown is briefly described below.
1. Before commissioning
For many plants and buildings, it is obligatory to submit a written shutdown and emergency plan before commissioning, which must be approved and is part of the operating permit.
2. During operation
During operation, the shutdown and emergency plan should be reviewed at regular intervals to ensure that it is up-to-date. Structural and legal changes may make adaptations necessary.
3. After the shutdown
In contrast to a complete closure, a temporary shutdown requires monitoring of the plant or site. Such “aftercare” must be taken into account in risk management. It must be checked regularly during the closing time to ensure that everything is properly locked and that no one has entered without permission. If necessary, maintenance inspections of equipment or similar should be carried out.
How a digital tool can help with company shutdowns
The temporary shutdown of a plant or the final closure is a cost-, time- and personnel-intensive process. A digital tool, such as Lumiform’s mobile app and desktop software, helps to speed up and streamline the process.
With Lumiform, responsible employees can easily perform shutdown inspections on site with a tablet or smartphone. If problems occur, they are immediately reported and assigned to responsible colleagues. Easy communication with all team members and third parties enables internal processes to be improved and incidents to be resolved up to four times faster.
The use of Lumiform’s digital solution enables a systematic plant shutdown in compliance with all legal requirements and effective monitoring. With Lumiform’s browser and mobile application, businesses benefit from the following advantages:
- Carry out digital risk assessments in order to identify problems in the event of a plant shutdown.
- Easily adapt existing emergency plans and checklists to new circumstances and regulations using the flexible form building set.
- The very simple operation offers no margin for error for inspectors on site. The app offers less complexity in documenting or filling out checklists than complicated paper or Excel lists.
- Automatically generate facility closure reports in cloud storage for secure recordkeeping.
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