While equipment malfunction or failure is sometimes the cause of unexpected plant shutdowns, equipment operator error is one of the most common causes for plant operations to come grinding to a halt.
In many industries, plant operator and employees often have very hands-on roles in the equipment processes taking place on a daily basis. As such, they have a direct impact on a plant’s level of productivity and on ensuring that operations are running smoothly.
Unfortunately, this also means that their actions can be to blame when something goes wrong.
While some of this has to do with the fact that plant operators are human and humans are bound to make mistakes from time to time, a lot of it often has to do with insufficient plant operator training.
The Importance of Regular Plant Operator Training
There are a handful of reasons why thorough training for plant operators and employees is important.
Prevention of System Shutdowns
As mentioned previously, inadequate training resulting in employee error is one of the most common causes of unexpected plant shutdowns. Providing sufficient and frequent training to your team can help to keep your plant running smoothly and eliminate unnecessary outages.
Safety is perhaps one of the most important reasons to invest in regular training for plant operators and employees. In fact, safety training is one of the top ways you can reduce facility hazards and keep your facility safe when working with thermal fluid heating systems. (You can learn about additional ways to improve the safety of your facility here.)
While preventing system shutdowns can increase your facility’s efficiency, training can help to increase efficiency in other ways as well. Employees can likely work faster if they’re well trained and familiar with their daily routines and responsibilities. Additionally, employees trained to troubleshoot and refer to equipment manuals can solve problems that may have otherwise required the attention of a mechanic or system specialist – saving your plant time and money! (Find other potential opportunities for improving facility efficiency here.)
Retirement & Employee Turnover
Regular training helps to ensure that when certain employees retire or move on to other opportunities, team members will be able to pick up where they left off. Making sure that multiple people are trained on certain tasks and procedures is a good way to ensure that your plant is never too reliant on one individual.
What Types of Plant Operator Training Should Employees Receive?
At this point, given the advantages of having a well-trained staff manning your plant, you may be on board with implementing an extensive training protocol for your organization. So what types of things should you be sure your employees are trained on?
While this will vary for every organization, here are a few general areas that will apply to most organizations that rely on industrial heating equipment for their day-to-day operations:
This is perhaps the most obvious type of training that employees will need, detailing their roles and the tasks they will perform on a regular basis. This training should help them to become comfortable with the routine tasks they handle and guide them towards becoming so familiar with what they do that it becomes almost second nature. It should also familiarize them with the resources they have on hand to help them on a regular basis, like equipment manuals and knowledgable supervisors. You want your team members to be able to work efficiently and effectively, and providing them with comprehensive general training is a great way to help them do so.
Safety is another somewhat obvious area where plant employees should be thoroughly trained. From knowing how to prevent hazards to understanding how to handle dangerous situations that could arise, safety training is key to keeping plant operators safe and your plant’s operations running smoothly.
A healthy maintenance culture is an important thing to implement in your plant for a number of reasons, and providing maintenance training is a key part of that. Training employees about the value of maintenance and informing them of the actions they should take on a regular basis to ensure that equipment and facility maintenance remains a priority should definitely be an item on your training to-do list.
Plant Shutdown Procedures
Plant shutdowns are sometimes inevitable, and – whether expected or unexpected – when they do occur it’s best to have employees in place who know how to handle them. Training plant operators and employees on plant shutdown management and reviewing the shutdown procedures to follow is well worth your while because it can help to make outages to go more smoothly.
Troubleshooting and problem solving is another beneficial area to provide training in. If employees know how to safely and effectively rectify issues that come up with equipment or certain procedures, they can get things back up and operating at 100% capacity much faster than would be possible if a technician had to be called in.
How Often Should Plant Operator Training Take Place?
The answer to this question will vary based on the types of training you choose to offer your plant personnel and the type of industry you are in. Generally, a good rule of thumb is to do plant operator training at least annually – though for most organizations, training more frequently than once a year is better.
While you may see training as an added expense and feel concerned that dedicating a few full days a year to training may slow your plant’s productivity, rest assured. Investing in training is well worth it.
In the end, adequate training can help keep your plant’s operations running smoothly and may prevent downtime that you may have had otherwise. Additionally, having well-trained, skilled employees on staff can increase your efficiency, which will benefit you long-term as well.
Want You Facility To Run Smoothly? Invest in Routine Plant Operator Training.
If you want your operations and processes to run smoothly on a regular basis, it’s in your best interest to invest in your employees by providing them with extensive operator training opportunities.
Though it does take additional time and resources to establish routine training, in the end it will help you to keep your facility on track and help you stay ahead of the competition.
Looking for other ways to keep your plant operating effectively? Investing in high quality industrial heating equipment is another good step to take.
Whether it’s time to replace an entire system or you’re only in need of one system component, American Heating Company can help. We offer high end industrial heating equipment made right here in the USA, designed and manufactured by a team with decades of experience.
Our thermal fluid heaters and other piece of heating equipment are made to order and can be customized to suit your exact needs and specifications. We serve a wide variety of industries. If you’re in the market for new thermal fluid heating equipment, be sure to keep us in mind.
Interested in learning more about what we have to offer? Browse our site to learn a bit more about the heating system components we specialize in, and check out this resource for an overview of why so many companies have chosen us for their industrial heating equipment needs. You can also review testimonials from past clients here.
Looking for an estimate of what an American Heating Company system or system component will cost? Give us a call at (715) 748-5888 or contact us online to request a quote and we’ll get back to you with the information you’re looking for.