Project commissioning is the process of ensuring that all systems and constituents of a building or an industrial plant or even a mining project are designed, set up, tested, operated, and maintained as per the operational requirements of the owner or final client. Commissioning is crucial to ensure that the project is running efficiently and that wastage and energy use are being minimized to the lowest level possible, thus saving costs. To enable a smooth commissioning process, there is a software specially designed to carry out the tasks involved.
Commissioning Software for Mining Industry is, for example, a specialized software that enables the clients’ needs to be met. The beauty of the software is that it is quite fast, informative, and allows instantaneous reporting of the actual position of commissioning and operational readiness, which is vital during the pre-operational phase. This makes it possible to easily identify areas in need of corrective actions.
For those considering commissioning, there are several dangers that lie ahead. As such, it is best to identify them to take preventive measures. Here are some risks that may be waiting for you when commissioning a project:
Temporary power supply danger
When commissioning a project, temporary power is normally used. That is, the principal power supply may be left out, while control power is introduced into the system. You must be aware of what will be energized or not energized in the system. The project commissioning team should be aware of possible wiring errors that may take the control power to unexpected areas.
Dangers posed by test equipment
Test equipment can be dangerous in that workers using them may be electrocuted. There are instances in which electrical equipment with as low as 50V can be fatal. Some test equipment powered by batteries, which the users can assume to be completely safe, may have a circuit that steps up the voltage to go over 50V. Although the shocks themselves may not be fatal, they could cause a worker to fall from a ladder or other high point.
Dangers from exposed energized terminals
In the course of commissioning and troubleshooting, chances of there being unprotected terminals with control power are high. This poses a risk to the workers commissioning the project and to other people coming into the facilities. Barricading the area to make it not easily accessible would be a good measure to ensure unauthorized people are kept away from the commissioning area.
Danger arising from chances of back feed
In the case that the project is not properly isolated, there is a possibility of temporary control power back feeding a control transformer (or a potential one), resulting in unexpected high voltage. To avoid such occurrences, you must be cautious so that you energize only the areas you previously intended.
Dangers posed by construction equipment
There could be other equipment being used in adjacent areas, like building cranes lifting materials, which may pose the dangers of items falling on the workers commissioning the project, or of causing damage to the equipment of the commissioning team.
Dangers due to workers taking shortcuts
While carrying out commissioning, workers may be tempted to take shortcuts, as most of the time the team is behind schedule and under intense pressure to make the equipment operational. Due to the pressure and time limitation, the team may opt to work as soon as the equipment is powered, rather than taking the time to do a proper isolation with the related paperwork and job plan consultation. Taking shortcuts heightens the chance of injuries and fatalities.
To minimize risks that may arise due to workers’ negligence, it is necessary to ensure the workers continue using electrical safety procedures in all stages: construction, operations, and maintenance. Additionally, you should come up with extra procedures or directions to guide in safe testing or commissioning the equipment. These extra procedures may include requiring the use of a generator for power supply during commissioning, wearing personal protective equipment, and others.
Dangers due to environmental factors
There are dangers that the commissioning team may face that arise from environmental factors, like extreme weather conditions, which may make the project area inaccessible, cut power supply lines, or cause damage to the building or equipment. Some of these factors may be taken care of through the use of alternative sources of power or means of transportation, but others may not be easy to deal with, thus causing delays to the commissioning process.
Other natural forces, like earthquakes and hurricanes, may pose unforeseen and unavoidable problems that will affect the commissioning of projects, including mining and construction. Buildings, roads, railway lines, or even manufacturing plants could be extensively damaged, thus delaying the planned commissioning.
Dangers posed by political, social, and legal issues
There could also be unforeseen political upheavals or changes in legislation that may affect the operations of the sector or industry in which the project to be commissioned falls, making it impossible to commission the project as planned. These potential legal, political, and social issues may necessitate seeking legal interpretations or solutions, political lobbying, and using other strategies, which may take time and thus delay the commissioning of the project.
The best way to ensure that expected dangers are addressed sufficiently prior to the commissioning process is to come up with a commissioning plan, which should be reviewed and agreed upon by the equipment owners and those doing the commissioning work. Involving the various parties in the planning process may help to identify many possible dangers, and enable the engineers and technicians to put together a safety plan for the task.