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Operators and Maintainers

It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones that are the most responsive to change.

Charles Darwin: The Origin of Species.

Author: Jim Wardhaugh


Location: 2.2.3 New Medium-Sized Complex Refinery [1]

All too often, roles at the working level in a plant are those traditionally derived from union demarcations. There is a certain level of comfort in operating within such limitations, but demarcations are often neither sensible nor efficient. We decided to break this mold when designing roles at the working level in our new grassroots refinery in the Far East.

Plants in Scandinavia had recruited plant operators from personnel trained in a craft background (often from ship's engineers looking for shore jobs) and then trained them in plant operation. This had been successful, so we decided on a similar path. In our case, we extended the role of the operator to that of operator-maintainer. In addition, there would be a few specialist maintainers forming a high-skill nucleus.

It was essential that our new local recruits acquired knowledge and skills quickly, so we had to make this process:

• Attractive by the use of a grading system which brought appropriate rewards

  • [1] }} {{ Attainable by ready access to appropriate training Credits and associated salary increases could be gained by attainingmeaningful skills in depth, in breadth, or in a combination of the two.Our refinery was designed to attain top performance in all significant aspects. Through this structure, top performer's staffing levels would beattained.
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