The new era of supersized turnarounds brings with it new complexities and liabilities as plant facilities accommodate a headcount well beyond normal capacity. Despite this dramatic growth, many contractors still handle the responsibility of transporting their workers to and from assigned parking lots, across public roads and into the plant site.
As a plant owner, you have two options for managing turnaround transportation: Decentralized, which hands each contractor responsibility of transporting their crews to and from their assigned units; and Centralized, which relies on a single transportation provider to deliver that service for all turnaround workers.
Historically, owners have elected to leave transportation in the hands of their contractors. On the surface, the decentralized approach seems like a good idea. It allows you to pull an item off an extensive checklist of turnaround responsibilities. It lets each contractor focus on the unique needs and schedules of their labor pool. And, when turnaround head-counts were significantly smaller, decentralized transportation didn’t impede the flow of traffic on or off the plant site. On the flip side, decentralized transportation has fundamental flaws, particularly in large-scale turnarounds. Control over transportation billing is surrendered to dozens of contractors. The designated drivers, usually high wage earners and unqualified as commercial drivers, are late to arrive and early to depart from their specialized work as they handle the menial task of navigating vehicle parking areas and retrieval of coworkers. And since workers can only ride in their designated van or bus, half-filled vehicles are the norm, further contributing to congested roads and lots. Centralized turnaround transportation eliminates decentralized deficiencies. It gives you greater predictability and control over transportation costs, which are neatly consolidated in one regular invoice. Centralized transportation also provides insurance coverage for the unthinkable. Onpoint, for example, carries an umbrella policy that covers every person on every seat of every vehicle we drive. Few contractors carry that level of essential coverage and are typically limited to coverage for their own personnel.
With the umbrella insurance coverage of a centralized transportation provider, any worker can board any shuttle bus. This eliminates the need to wait – on the owner’s clock – for an entire crew to gather. And since buses can be filled to capacity, fewer vehicles can move the same number of workers. The drivers, who specialize in commercial transportation, are properly licensed, thoroughly trained and focused on the job at hand. Their buses are regularly maintained for reliable performance, and backup vehicles are staged onsite. Centralized transportation providers specialize in the science of traffic optimization. Routes and parking lots are well-planned, following clear paths that improve traffic flow and promote pedestrian safety.
In stark contrast to today’s highly sophisticated, safety-focused, productivity-driven turnarounds, the choice to use antiquated, decentralized worker transportation is rife with risks and inefficiencies. Don’t put your turnaround workforce in jeopardy, consider the advantages of centralized workforce transportation.