Protecting the Workforce during a Turnaround
NOVA Chemicals is a worldwide plastics and chemicals manufacturer.
NOVA's Corunna site is one of the most flexible petrochemical facilities in the world. This facility has the resources to switch between natural gas liquids and crude oil or crude oil derivatives to produce a full range of primary petrochemicals for use by NOVA Chemicals' operations and for sale to customers. The Corunna site demonstrates clearly the proactive use and implementation of a SAFER Real-Time® solution.
Crude oil, as well as a variety of other feedstocks (including ethane and gas oil), is delivered to the site by rail and pipeline. These chemicals are used to produce about 3.5 billion pounds per year of basic petrochemicals, the building blocks for plastic and synthetic rubber. NOVA's Corunna site also produces approximately 3 billion pounds annually of refinery and energy products such as gasoline components, home heating oil and industrial fuel oils.
NOVA Chemicals was preparing to conduct a turnaround, which meant that a large number of people would be working on equipment that had been emptied and cleaned of chemicals, most often hydrocarbon, which is hazardous. Additional safety measures were essential because of the possibility of residual contamination, and to monitor the systems that needed to continue to operate.
For years, NOVA Chemicals, like most industrial companies, required employees or contractors individuals with manual monitors to supervise each site in case of hazardous conditions arising from work in the field. The company was looking for a solution that increased safety by providing 24 -hour coverage and reduced the number of people required to monitor the area, thus reducing the potential of additional people being involved in an event.
NOVA Chemicals challenged SAFER Systems to develop a turn-key monitoring solution that could oversee maintenance and construction projects related to a site turnaround and to confined space maintenance work.
Ultimately, NOVA Chemicals was presented with a solution that provided the company with remote monitoring of specific field projects. The GPS-enabled AreaRAE sensors and the high resolution aerial imagery in the system provided acentralized control room base view of all the critical field projects.
Using the AreaRAE monitors in conjunction with the SAFER Real-Time® Sensor Monitor screen and GPS maps meant that the Central Control Room (CCR) emergency response panel provided 24/7 supervisory coverage of each location and piece of equipment involved, whether people were working there or not.
The view of the sensor screens could be shared with other SAFER systems in the NOVA Sarnia network, if needed. Any field alarm would be heard simultaneously in the Control Room with its exact location pinpointed on the SAFER Real-Time® screen, highlighting where emergency response resources were required for support and intervention. Even if the unit was not scheduled for a maintenance crew at that specific time, the workplace conditions could still be monitored and logged.
This joint effort between Nova and SAFER resulted in accomplishing the customer stated objectives.
NOVA Corunna could rely on specific alarm values set to match various situations being monitored. The purpose of this feature was to initiate a timely emergency response, not identify a potential ongoing exposure issue. The alarm was set to sound at the CCR emergency response panel, as well as locally at the sensor itself.
The solution has now been expanded for use at a second site more than six kilometers away by adding a receiver at the remote location and communicating data and positions to the SAFER Data Acquisition Server (DAS) over the NOVA Intranet. Integration of SAFER Real-Time® with the Environmental Department procedures has improved dispatching, positioning, and tracking of environmental responders sent out to collect samples in the case of a complaint or incident.