Stop Work Authority & Communication
In our ongoing discussion on Stop Work Authority & Communication. Our goal is to raise awareness of Stop Work Authority and improve our communication as it applies to safety. Today we will share a couple of events that occurred where stop work authority could’ve been used or could’ve been used better and one where stop work authority was used perfectly.
Lesson Learned #1: A gang of PF’s were assigned to install 4” pipe in a pipe rack. The original plan was to use a 15 Ton Crane to lift the pipe into position and pull it along the rack. The Operator was not comfortable with using the Crane in this manner and decided to use his stop work authority. He didn’t feel comfortable putting this side load on the crane with such a long run of pipe, which was also reaching over in service piping. This was a good catch. However, the Operator pulled off of the job and the PF’s developed a plan to pull the pipe through the rack with come-a-longs and then using a lull. Both approaches using the come-a-longs and the lull presented additional hazards that weren’t part of the original plan. The following events later resulted in a PF getting his finger crushed between the pipe and the support while maneuvering a valve up and over the support.
This stop work authority was only partially completed. The Operator did see something that was wrong and stopped the work, but we also expected him to be part of the solution and notify supervision. This ensures that any deviations from our original plans (time of day, manpower, equipment availability, tools, etc.) are thought out and we’re not exposing ourselves to any greater risk.
Lesson Learned #2: A JJ White work crew was working in close proximity to a catalyst handling operation. One of our employees observed that the catalyst was not fully contained and becoming airborne. Our employees went back to the owner and asked for an SDS for the material that is being handled. One was not provided right away and the Laborers were instructed to clean this up. They reported this to their supervisor and all work was stopped. Later the owner and JJ White Supervision met and reviewed the SDS, which was later provided and the work continued with respiratory protection.
After the initial resistance, the work crew was commended for their actions and followed through with their stop work authority. This was a good example of identifying a risk/unknown, asking a question for information that they were entitled to, not receiving a correct response, stopping, reporting it up through the chain of command and being a part of the solution (selecting respirators per the SDS).