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XPressEntry Improves Safety and Reduced Paperwork During Turnaround

Southern California refinery benefits from improved safety, increased productivity

When a Southern California refinery chose to implement an XPressEntry confined space entry monitoring system from Telaeris for a refinery maintenance turnaround, they knew they would be improving worker safety. But they didn’t know that they would also be increasing productivity from their maintenance contractors and gaining clearer records of work history.

The refinery needed a better way to track entrants for the Winter 2008 maintenance turnaround of their FCC unit, which involved two multi-story vessels (permit-required confined space areas), with a total of thirteen different entryways. In previous turnarounds involving confined spaces, safety attendants had used paper logs to track workers entering and exiting the vessels. However, logging entries on paper is severely limited and so the turnaround project manager chose XPressEntry to overcome those limitations.

XPressEntry improved safety by providing real time occupancy counts for each vessel. Instead of having to radio each safety attendant monitoring an entryway and determine who was still inside, a safety supervisor could simply view the list of current occupants on the XPressTools cart onsite, which was updated each time someone went in or out of an entryway. With the cart automatically calculating how long an entrant had been inside, safety supervisors could easily tell who hadn’t exited at their usual time (for a lunch break or end of shift), and could quickly respond to determine their status. XPressEntry saved time for safety attendants and monitors. With paper logs, the safety staff would have to manually reconcile the paper logs after each shift or during an evacuation incident to determine whether a worker who entered through one manway had or hadn’t exited through another. XPressEntry automatically builds the activity history for each worker, eliminating this tedious task entirely, and can provide snapshots of occupancy, for the present moment, or any previous time. The safety staff no longer had to spend time checking and double-checking paper logs which saves time at the end of each shift, and more importantly, during an incident requiring evacuation.

Worker productivity improved as a result of implementing XPressEntry. With the paper logs, it might take several minutes for a safety attendant to log in a group of workers at the start of a shift. Knowing there might be a wait to get into the vessel, workers were less likely to arrive at the entryway on time. With the XPressEntry handhelds, the time to record entry actions was significantly decreased, reducing the wait and getting workers on the job sooner.

XPressEntry’s reporting functions provided a new dimension of project visibility to the turnaround project manager. Every day, XPressEntry automatically emailed the project managers with a log of all the activity from the previous day’s shifts which summed up the number of hours spent inside the vessels by each sub-contracting company and their employees. This provided an additional check to make sure that a subcontractor’s hours billed matched the hours worked. In addition, reports could be generated at any time to show the activity history by day, week, or month for selected workers, contracting companies, or vessels. This level of recordkeeping was simply neglected under the old paper log system.

From the beginning of the turnaround, the safety staff knew that XPressEntry was going to provide a better management system for monitoring their confined space entries, leading to improved safety and time savings for safety personnel. What they didn’t expect were the added benefits of increased productivity and project visibility. There was a time savings for the confined space workers less time waiting to get inside meant more time on the job per shift, and the projects got completed that much sooner. Both safety monitors and project management benefited from the different reporting features, gaining a clearer picture of the turnaround’s progress. With XPressEntry, the refinery was no longer confined to long wait times and poor recordkeeping.