Bioprocess Pilot Facility
Constant startup and stop put high demands on safety
“Change is our middle name,” says Els Schulten, manager operations, “that’s why we have to be on top of HSE to ensure that everything is well organized.” A test facility has to be very flexible. There is actually a constant startup and stop situation. That is where the risks can often be found. BPF opted for iB&X’s safe working process, supported by the Unite Permit to Work software.
The Bioprocess Pilot Facility B.V. (BPF) is situated on the Biotech Campus in Delft, the Netherlands. Companies and information institutions may scale up newly developed sustainable production processes with BPF before they are applied at an industrial level. Because of the modular set-up of the facility, in which several devices can be linked to each other, different types of tests can be performed. The ever changing situation within the installation makes achieving 100% safety a challenging assignment.
Leen van Meerveld, Manager Maintenance & Facilities: “When it comes to our ambition in the field of safety, we only want to take acceptable and identifiable risks so that everyone returns home safely at the end of the day.”
“Unite Permit to Work ensures a dialogue on the different aspects that play a large part in this. And it inspires us to take safety to an even higher level. The software supports the thought process that everybody has to go through to map their own part of the work. It ensures that everyone in the team knows what to do in order to do their work in a safe manner.”
In daily practice
Schulten: “Unite Permit to Work facilitates my daily work because I hardly notice anything about it. It ensures a feeling that you know that the work permit process is running smoothly and acoording to the procedure. This is how it helps us to work safely.”
Van Meerveld now always has a complete overview of the total workload: how much production, how many high risk work permits are outstanding. Unite gives us information to which we can, in time, link the KPIs.
“For me, it now takes tenfold less time than when we were still doing this process on paper. You do feel responsible, so I often looked in on the activities, checked risks and verified statistics and implementation. Now I’m only doing this once a week. The people involved take on their own responsibilities now. This means that I only have to monitor the process instead of the separate activities.”
“For me, it now takes tenfold less time than when we were still doing this process on paper.”
Experiences on the shop floor
Advantages can also be found on the shop floor. “The process is now unambiguous. You can retrieve everything, everyone can retrieve the same data and you’re talking about the same thing,” says work preparer Jan de Graaf. “People tend to choose the path of least resistance. Unite Permit to Work forces you to follow the procedure. Thus you are forced to pay some attention to every aspect, such as the risk assessment list.” If something does not add up, the entire team will look for a structural solution.
Aldo Meertens, Operational Expert is happy with the consistency that Unite provides and that the roles have been outlined in a clear manner. An application now follows the desired route through the organization: such as the four eye principle, or the fact that someone from HSE is always involved in a high risk permit. “As an applicant it is pointed out to you through the risk assessment list when you are dealing with a high risk permit. We are seeing that the quality of applications keeps rising.”
If a permit is not approved somewhere, people cannot continue. “Again and again it helps to increase safety and safety awareness.”