Where Does That Drain Go?

drain-42451962_sChemical plants are different from most other businesses. Floor drains in a chemical plant are a major cause for concern. At Chemvalon, a common question we ask is, “Where does that drain go?”

On the face of it, it’s a fairly innocent question. The replies we hear are often a major cause for concern.

Most chemical companies operate subject to various permits which restrict how chemicals are used and stored on site. Many chemicals, and especially waste chemicals awaiting disposal, are required to be stored within a secondary containment area. The correct design and construction of secondary containment is essential. Correct management of those areas is a must.

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Maintenance Or Repair – How To Decide

maintenance-repair-37846418_sWhen buying a used car, it’s always good if you can see a pile of maintenance records. Someone took care of the car and spent money to make sure it was kept in good shape.

Buying a chemical company is just the same, and in any assessment of the condition of a plant, a good place is to start is in the maintenance department.

Chemvalon often reviews budgets and financial statements which show expenditure on repairs and maintenance. But which cost is it? A repair cost, or a maintenance expense?

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Hotwired for Success – Electrical Installations

electrical-wiring-36915673_sDue diligence is all about risk and reward. How far do you go and just when do you stop spending?

The integrity of electrical installations is not always easy to assess, but some basic buy-side due diligence need not be expensive when weighed against the risk.

But remember, electrical installations tend to fail catastrophically and without an obvious warning. That can be REALLY expensive. Older systems that fail can be impossible to fix, sometimes requiring replacement with new installations – rather than a minor like-for-like repair.

So what can you do?

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Call Me Back Later

cellphone-34198353_sModern cell phones are much more than ….well…phones.

Modern cell phones are cameras, TV’s, GPS’s, flashlights, credit cards, search engines, computers, remote controllers. The list is endless. And everyone is now firmly attached to their cell phones.

But cell phones are much more. Cell phones are now a leading cause of traffic accidents. Cell phones also pose significant hazards when used in chemical plants.

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We Are Big On Safety!

safety-37846852_sSo often we are told by companies that “we are big on safety!”

People tell us with great pride that their company regularly pays employee safety bonuses.

It’s a good idea. Accidents are expensive, so rewards for working safely is a good idea – right?

Well actually no – it’s a pretty bad idea.

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What’s On Your Bucket List?

bucket-6433788_sAbout 15 minutes into a recent chemical manufacturing plant tour, I started making a bucket list. Understand though, this was not a list of the things I need to do before I leave this life. No. It was literally a list of actual buckets in the workplace with about 30 employees. There were buckets everywhere! I counted over a hundred!

Maintenance men used buckets to catch drips from disconnected pipes, and operators used buckets to catch drips from sample ports. Small additives were measured into buckets before being added to reactors. Sure enough, when I looked at the accounts – the company was spending $600 a month on plastic buckets.

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Can I Use Your Rest Room?

restroom-8896292_sWhen out on assignment to assess another company, a trip to the bathroom can be the perfect place to start.

The walls will often tell you (sometimes in graphic detail!) what the workforce thinks of management. Graffiti can sometimes be more illuminating than the employee attitude survey the HR manager provided. So the workforce may not be happy. Why?

Is the restroom well supplied with paper products, soap etc.? It’s a good indication of the company’s attitudes towards health and safety.

Are the bathroom fixtures and fittings in good repair? A bathroom in need of repair may indicate that other repairs are being delayed or ignored. It doesn’t cost much to maintain a bathroom.

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