Drawings and Diagram Safety

Accurate visuals

Using current equipment-specific visuals can help operators clearly identify  functional components.  When the visual on a component drawing is inaccurate or outdated, your safety, and that of your coworkers, is at risk.  For example, you wouldn’t want to begin work on an electrical control panel wiring demolition project if the wiring diagram was missing wires.  Don’t be tempted to proceed based on intuition or previous experience where complacency did not yield a negative outcome. Rolling the dice is never a winning safety strategy.

Accurate labels

Accurate labeling goes hand in hand with using accurate visuals.  In the above example, even if all wires are accounted for in a diagram, if the labeling is incorrect, you and your coworkers’ safety is at risk.  Incorrect labels could mean missing or unclear information and/or improper component identification.  Use extra caution if the labeling is confusing or inadequate, stop what you are doing, and check with the appropriate on-site personnel before proceeding.

Have a backup plan

Knowing what to do when there are issues with drawings and diagrams is a key step in keeping everyone safe.  Before work begins, make sure team members are aware of what to do if visuals and labeling do not meet expectations.  In that same vein, review the project site policy for emergency response.  Proper training and planning can help mitigate the risk of an incident and if an incident occurs, ensures that everyone knows the correct response and reporting process.

Keeping vigilant for the simple yet impactful things such as a proper component drawing can be the difference between smooth project execution and potentially dangerous and reportable events. 

Brian Pelan
Brian Pelan
OSE Director, Laramie, WY

Brian has over 20 years of professional experience in environmental, health, safety, and security (EHS&S). His areas of expertise include EHS&S risk management; ISO systems management & auditing; fluid recovery/recycling; and industrial hygiene services.

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