How did Delek Enhance Safety Culture & Efficiency with GOARC’s Digital Permit to Work Solution?

The company 

Delek US is a diversified downstream energy company with multiple assets in petroleum refining, logistics, asphalt, renewable fuels, and convenience store retailing. The company owns and operates four inland refineries with a combined crude throughput capacity of 302,000 barrels per day, serving local and regional markets. 

With a commitment to core values that include maintaining the health and wellbeing of its employees, the environment, and the communities in which the company operates, Delek US fosters a culture of innovation and excellence, with a strong focus on safety. 

Refinery operations involve high-risk, changing and potentially hazardous processes and conditions. The company was seeking a proactive, technology-based data-driven approach to enhance their safety culture with new standards to ensure optimal management, efficiency, and operational excellence. 

The challenge 

The need for a systemic solution with real-time data integration for optimal risk management

Delek faced challenges of ensuring a safe working environment and reducing work incidents in high-risk operations with changing processes and risk levels during multiple types of maintenance jobs.  The company conducted a gap assessment versus industry best practices for work permitting and recognized the need to improve the permit process with a system that connects all parties with real-time data from the field, with proper safety protocols, and a reliable flow of information to enhance communication.  A connected worker solution for dynamic authorization with real-time hazard identification and risk evaluation would facilitate continuous worker, asset, and process safety.  

 

Delek also wanted to digitize and standardize safety processes and procedures with an integrated work permitting system that was adaptable to changing conditions and risks, with full visibility to optimize the authorization process, improve accessibility of permits, identify real-time permit conflicts, improve accuracy and efficiency, and resolve issues quickly. 

The solution

Digital transformation toward the Refinery of the Future

Delek US and GOARC worked together to define, design, develop, and implement a unique systemic digital solution that includes Permit to Work (PTW), job specific risk management, hazard identification, and establishment of safety protocols, combined in one system. 

The new Electronic Permit to Work solution is based on real-time data integration for cumulative risk evaluation from the work floor to the PTW applications. The innovative software solution identifies overlapping permits, safety hazards, and risk levels for dynamic work reallocation. The system supports a connected environment with 24/7 communication to enable optimal risk level evaluation, decision-making and management across workers and assets.  

Transformational change: Integrating all processes and data sources for Permit to Work

A single source provides full, interactive visibility of all site activities and is accessible to everyone.  The control screen shows all existing work permits, identified hazards, reported changes, and real-time status of employees and tasks in the field.  The integrated technology combines all processes and data sources to provide a comprehensive and continuously updated picture for situational awareness and effective, proactive risk management.  

The dynamic solution identifies the best and most effective workflow and signature authorization in real time and identifies issues, such as hazardous work conflict and overlapping permits to enable more effective work reallocation.  The system delivers updated personalized and specific safety guidelines and notifications to workers. 

Risk visualization and real-time synchronized safety and process-related controls in a connected environment enable informed and rapid decision-making. 

Delek has conducted training on the new electronic permitting process for employees and contractors.  In 2021, new critical functionalities were added to further enhance the digital Permit to Work solution. 

 

The results 

The rollout of the new digital Permit to Work solution has improved accessibility of permits in a standard format, with real-time identification of permit conflicts and the ability to effectively suspend work and resolve issues, significantly reducing work incidents.   

The cost-saving digital system shortens the time and labor required to issue each permit. The system enables efficiency capture during controlled plant shutdowns, maximizing safety performance and minimizing risk while leading to increasing production revenue. 

The Delek Tyler refinery had challenging safety performance. Post roll-out, with the change in safety culture, the refinery achieved a record 1045 days without a single injury.  The new system went live in September 2020 in the Delek El Dorado refinery and was successfully stress tested during the January 2021 turnaround. 

·        17.6 min. average time to issue a digital permit 

·        Contract labor savings and operational costs 

·        ~450+ employees and 2000+ contractors trained on new system 

·        ~4,200+ permits written, approved, and closed in Tyler 

·        ~12,500+ permits written, approved, and closed in El Dorado 

Hear from our employees

  • “When we are making changes to a process that is new, there is going to be feedback that’s not great, but things do get better over time. For example, look at the Safe Work Permit, when it rolled out everyone was against it, because it changed the way things were being done, but now you realize to change is to strengthen our safety and to take care of workers.” – Maintenance Assurance Manager, John Wilson
  • “Take a look at our safety record since the work permit process was rolled out. How many exposures have we had due to someone wearing the proper PPE while performing OPE jobs? Zero!” – Production Assurance Manager, Tery Sanders
  • “In almost 50 years of being on the job, I have seen two valves leak. One situation, I heard the leak in a light ends unit and donned my fresh air PPE and slicker suit. The valve had started leaking on an open pump that was not blinded. This was a bad situation, and no one got hurt.  If someone would have been in the immediate area, the outcome could have been different. It’s a good thing I donned my PPE.” – PSM Supervisor, Jay Stephenson
  • “Since the new permit system has been used, it has created a safer environment. I never would have thought having the Operations and Maintenance Supervisor as part of the actual permit, would be good. It used to be that workers just look at safety for the answers, but now with the new permit system, all parties are involved and knowledgeable.” – Safety Rep, Richard Smith 
  • The safety culture that has been created at Tyler through the permit system, is one that I have never seen.  I’ve been to other refineries and this site’s permit system drive a safer culture.” – Reliability Specialist, Keith Marble
  • “Wearing PPE behind a single block is a way of life here at Tyler. It is a great way of life! The potential of a valve leak may be low, but if it does, I want the PPE.” – Maintenance Craftsman, Clint Murphy 

Timeline

  • Jan 2017: Tyler refinery conducted a gap assessment versus industry best practices for work permitting.
  • Feb-May 2017: Tyler refinery designed, developed, and documented new work permitting, process preparations planning, Job Hazard Analysis, Lock Out Tag Out process, and shift in operating model.
  • Jun-Jul 2017: Tyler refinery trained 250+ employees and 150 contractors on the new standards (First time in Delek that contractors were trained on our permitting standard).
  • Major safety cultural change with this roll out.  Prior to new process, Tyler refinery had an injury on average every 2-3 weeks.  Post roll-out, with maturity of the process and enhance safety conversations with change in safety culture, the Tyler refinery hit a record of 1045 days 2.8yrs without an injury (employees and contractors) 1-24-2018 to 12-4-2020.
  • Major contributors to this change:

Jeremy Cyr “visionary, leader, and architect,” Austin David, and Luke McGuffey

  • Jan 2020: GOARC / Delek Steering Committee meeting was established.
  • Feb 2020: El Dorado kicked off their safety cultural enhancement journey.  Gap assessment versus industry best practices (Tyler Refinery Permit System).
  • Mar-Jun 2020: El Dorado, Corporate, and GOARC team defined, designed, developed, and documented new Electronic Permit to Work Version 1.
  • Jul-Aug 2020: Conducted training on new safety standards, operating model, and electronic permitting process.  ~220 Employees and over 1500 contractors (most just before the Jan 2021 Turnaround).
  • Sept 2020: El Dorado Go-Live! With the new permitting process.
  • Jan-Mar 2021: El Dorado Turnaround: Successful stress test for the system.
  • Major contributors to this project:

The GOARC Team plus from Delek US: Jeremy Cyr “visionary, leader, and architect,” John Callahan, Tony Hooks, Schuyler Murph, Bob Chapman, Joel Cates, Jon Walthall, Jason Brock, Jerald Lee, Kadee Gunter (No longer with the company), Tim Vodopivec (No longer with the company), Luke Cason (No longer with the company).

  • Mar-May 2021: Tyler Refinery, Corporate, and Go-Arc team enhanced the version 1 of the permitting system adding multiple critical new functionalities.
  • Jun-Jul 2021: Tyler refinery trained ~220 employees and 150 contractors on the new electronic permitting system
  • Major contributors to this project:

The GOARC Team plus from Delek US: Jeremy Cyr “visionary, leader, and architect,” Luke McGuffey, Austin Davis, Wesley Stutzman, Clint Murphy, Tate Welch, Victoria Searer, Cody Rutland, Andrew Brey

  • Metrics:

~450+ Employees trained on electronic permitting system

~2000+ contractors trained on electronic permitting system

~12500+ Permits written, approved, and closed in El Dorado

~4200+ Permits written, approved and closed in Tyler

Average time to issue a permit is now 17.6 mins

  • All the site individuals at Tyler and El Dorado that were a part of the team were awarded a Plaque & Certificate of achievement along with a gift card.