Hudson & Knight, local refining specialist of fats and oils for the South African food manufacturing industry, has implemented ApplyIT’s IntelliPERMIT at its Boksburg facility to improve compliance with safety regulations on site.
A wholly-owned subsidiary of Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby Berhard, Hudson & Knight boasts a long history in the fats and oils industry dating back to the early 1900s, and is currently Sime Darby’s only African-based operation. The Boksburg plant is a state-of-the-art refinery with flexible blending capabilities, producing premium bakery fats, frying oils and bulk industrial fats for the food manufacturing industry.
Designed and implemented by process manufacturing software specialist ApplyIT, IntelliPERMIT is a computerised permit-to-work system which controls the process by which permits and isolations within an operating plant are prepared, authorised, issued and managed. By checking that all hazards are correctly identified and safety precautions adhered to, the solution ensures compliance to safety procedures on any site.
IntelliPERMIT replaced a manual permit system at Hudson & Knight. Being paper-based, the old system was complex, inaccurate and unreliable – the handwritten entries on the permits-to-work were often illegible, with records poorly kept and lacking in detail.
“If the integrity of a permit is in question, the risk of unsafe work practices increases,” explains Hudson & Knight plant engineer Rodney Ndonyane.
“Hazardous work environments need tight controls over the risks involved, and ideally these controls need to identify what is lacking before an accident does exactly that.”
Hazards at the plant include high pressure steam lines, ammonia refrigeration, the hydrogenation plant and confined space entry. IntelliPERMIT is specifically designed to identify safety risks and ensure that personnel on site are properly trained and equipped for their tasks. Only once employees are fully compliant – such as being specifically authorised for a job, appropriately equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) for the task, and safety measures such as the correct isolations are in place – will the system issue the permit.
Ndonyane says since the implementation of IntelliPERMIT in April 2010, the safety awareness on site has improved considerably.
“IntelliPERMIT has raised the level of safety awareness and preparedness of every shift worker on site by providing detailed risk information and enforcing site safety rules. Communication has improved, correct information is passed from one shift to the next, and at any one time management can see what jobs are underway anywhere on the plant. By eliminating incorrect job preparation procedures, we have significantly reduced the risk of accidents or near-misses at the plant.”
The solution makes available a comprehensive audit trail, and allows a high visibility of work in progress, enabling management to delegate their responsibilities to operations with clearly defined safe work procedures and rules enforced.
Site access and entry into hazardous areas is more controlled, and site exit without closing off permits can be restricted through the system.
ApplyIT MD Gavin Halse says the design of IntelliPERMIT allows the customer to benefit from industry best practices and latest statutory requirements to reduce risk and improve safety compliance in hazardous environments.
“Pre-configured templates and a proven project methodology enabled a very rapid on-site implementation of the system at Hudson & Knight, demonstrating that IntelliPERMIT is not only well suited to the food and beverage sector, but can effectively scale to all size plants. The system forms a strategic part of the OpSUITE solution, designed to improve all aspects of operations performance.”