A factory shutdown is a temporary shutdown of a manufacturing or pharmaceutical plant for improvements in equipment and processes. These shutdowns require a lot of planning in order for them to be safe, timely and cost-efficient. Given the amount of processes and employees involved, factory and pharmaceutical shutdowns are unpredictable and complex, and can be expensive or cause safety risks if not done right. Shutdowns can also good for business if they are done right. This article explains the best way to plan and perform a safe and successful shutdown.

How to: Factory Shutdowns

  1. Make a plan. Speak to everyone involved to determine exactly what needs to be accomplished in the shutdown and what needs to be done before the shutdown begins. Negotiate a schedule with all the key players, namely your safety manager or EHS manager and make sure to take your time in this planning phase.
  2. Coordinate with the entire shutdown team. This is the most critical and time consuming step. The coordination will involve the team determining the order in which things will be done and the detailed workflow logistics. The will also need to prepare for how the equipment will be removed and returned for service.
  3. Procure equipment and materials. In this step, contracts with all necessary consultants, contractors, and vendors should be set in place. You’ll need to bring in all key decision-makers and departments, including engineering, project management, safety & ehs management, facilities management, and purchasing departments.
  4. Execute the shutdown. This is when the shutdown of activities will actually occur. It is be a good idea to develop site maps and signage, updated daily, to inform employees and others of areas that are off-limits or where new equipment goes.
  5. Return to service. After a successful shutdown when all of the equipment and safety precautions are up and running again you can resume normal service.

Safety compliance training

All employees and team members should undergo safety compliance training before participating in a factory shutdown, as there can be a number of dangers in executing a shutdown. All employees need to be trained and more importantly, on the same page, to make sure everyone gets home safe.