Let’s face it, we all knew that 2024 was going to be a very busy year for the UK’s process industries. Most of the major oil refineries and chemical plants have large turnaround events taking place between now and October (all at the same time it seems – but that’s another story).

So, silly season is now well and truly here; this month see’s some of the smaller maintenance events taking place before we are eased into the much larger turnarounds and already we are seeing evidence of ‘Coco’ and his mates.

Luckily, the mistakes (genuine and deliberate) are being picked up by the QA/Flange Inspection teams during the joint integrity process.

It’s fortunate that some sites have implemented robust joint integrity processes and procedures to detect and address such issues early on. However, it is still concerning that not all sites have adopted these industry-approved practices.

Sadly for those assets that are still not using such processes and procedures, Coco’s handy work wont be realised until pressure test activities or even plant start-up. Too late!!

In addition to the poor standards of work found on site, I’m already hearing the usual horror stories of forged CCNSG safety passports and MJI10 certificates being found. Mechanical Fitter, Pipe Fitter or Carpet Fitter?…hmmmm?

Are asset owners truly setting the site requirements for all it’s contractor labour in terms of mechanical joint integrity? I’d say NO.

Turnaround events are challenging, especially when multiple sites are undergoing maintenance simultaneously and the drain on the UK transient labour pool is being stretched to almost breaking point.

The drum has been beating for years – why is it that not all COMAH sites have heard it? Maybe I need a bigger drum??

Let’s hope that our UK COMAH sites have a successful and incident-free turnaround period. It will be interesting to reflect on this at the end of the year.

Stay compliant! Stay safe!

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