Safe and speedy Startup

Hans Hellemons
After Oranje-Nassau Energy B.V. (ONE) had discovered gas and condensate in well Maasgeul- 3 in 2011, the development of the plant in Rotterdam started in July 2013.  The project is proceding well, with the ambitious goal of being ‘Ready For Startup’ (RFS) later this year. Normally these projects take five years to complete; however, this one is aiming for three. The safe hours are also flying by, as the project has already reached a significant period of safe hours.

Excellent project management

“Instead of the conventional step-by-step approach, management has decided to overlap the individual steps where possible. This has resulted in measurable time savings,” says Hans Hellemons. Hans (48) is working through Atlas as HSE Manager for the Q16 Maas project.  When we ask whether this approach has implications for Hans’ role, he says:  “I am not yet aware of any significant consequences, although I do think that at this pace, it’s important for all involved to take HSE procedures even more seriously.”

The right mentality

With our overalls, safety boots, helmets, and protective glasses – obviously all perfectly in order – we join Hans on his round covering the Oranje-Nassau premises. Depending on the amount of desk work he has, Hans typically makes these rounds three to four times a day. Walking past the many workers, Hans notices safety issues here and there, and reminds everyone about the correct procedures onsite.  Hans understands that workers are mainly focused on the job at hand, but nevertheless this cannot result in losing sight of HSE regulations. “It takes time for people to acquire the right mentality towards safety. At the beginning of my career, I immediately wanted to solve everything, but that’s not realistic. Here, safety standards are high and people have different attitudes towards different safety matters.” According to Hans, regular training is key. Currently, the average professional refreshes and enhances his or her knowledge only once every ten years.  “A better and safer world can be achieved by making this a more frequent requirement, either by encouraging employees to do so themselves or through agencies such as Atlas. I am convinced this would positively influence the amount of incidents on the job,” states Hans.

Time to celebrate

After working in HSE for over ten years, Hans says that in his field of expertise there are many tricks of the trade that one learns only through experience.  Hans has learned these by now, but not without some mistakes and mishaps along the way. “In order to maintain authority, which is essential for me to do my job, it’s best not to be seen as just a nice guy with the suggestions, because rules are rules. Tryinging to be everybody’s friend could lead to a lack of control.”  Although Hans is still confronted daily with situations that guarantee the necessity of his job for the time being, the project has reached a long period of safe hours — a significant achievement for which Hans is now planning a celebration ceremony.