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Contractors in the Process Industries

December 23, 2014
Suddenly, a heated exchange took place between the king and the moat contractor (Larson)

Suddenly, a heated exchange took place between the king and the moat contractor (Larson)

The material in this post is extracted from Chapter 19 of the book Process Risk and Reliability Management and from Chapter 6 of the 2nd edition of the book Offshore Safety Management.

Contractors play a vital and increasingly important role in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of process and energy facilities, as can be seen from the chart shown below. It can be seen that, over the last twenty years or so, the number of contractor work hours has increased by about a fact of fifteen, whereas the number of hours worked by employees of the host companies has hardly doubled. (The offshore oil and gas industry is particularly reliant on contractors.)


We have prepared three videos to do with contractors in the process industries. They are:

  1. Contractors and Operators
  2. Regulations and Standards
  3. Management of Contractors

The first video — Contractors and Operators — lists the different types of contractor and contract company, it describes some of the issues and difficulties that occur at the operator/contractor interface, and highlights some of the legal issues that need to be thought about. Strategies for contractor selection are described and references to the Center for Offshore Safety Contractor-Operators templates are provided.

The second video — Regulations and Standards — reviews regulations to do with contractors from OSHA (the Occupational Safety & Health Administration) and BSEE (the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement), along with the industry standard API Recommended Practice 76. These regulations and standards provide a basis for developing contractor management systems, regardless of location or industry.

The third video — Management of Contractors — discusses how an operating company can develop bridging documents with the hundreds of contractor companies with which it works. The development of maps using a Safety Management System, such as shown in the drawing below, is one way of doing this efficiently and with minimal redundancy.

Bridging Document

Bridging Document

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