Safety in real time: Web-based tool helps Marathon Petroleum target risks before they arise

Business News

Mandan Refinery
The Mandan refinery first used FAST during its turnaround in the fall and is now among 12 Marathon Petroleum refineries that have incorporated the tool into both routine work and turnarounds.

Safety in real time: Web-based tool helps Marathon Petroleum target risks before they arise

Marathon Petroleum refineries are getting valuable safety information to employees in the field faster than ever before with web-based software that creates trend data in real time to bring visibility to emerging risks. The Marathon Refining Safety group developed the Field Audit Scoring Tool (FAST) that allows for quicker trend analysis and more timely notifications to the field to help avoid potential safety issues.

Predictive power

Mandan Refinery at night

Our employees can use FAST to complete four types of safety assessments: a life critical audit, joint jobsite visit, job safety analysis and general safety audit. Examples of assessment observations could include hoses and cords that create tripping hazards; wearing inadequate personal protective equipment for existing conditions; working at heights without being properly secured to prevent a fall; and a lack of communication among workers executing a particular task.

“The tool was designed so that anyone with a smartphone or other smart device can complete an audit in under five minutes, which can yield tons of data,” said Marathon Advanced HES Professional Michael Babin. “Microsoft Power BI software then instantly processes the data to show daily behavioral trends on a dashboard that all Marathon Petroleum employees and contractors can access.”

Spotlighting specifics at Mandan

Marathon Petroleum’s Mandan, North Dakota, refinery used FAST for the first time in the fall during its successful turnaround, a major planned maintenance event, which involved roughly 500 contractors. By the end of the turnaround’s seven-week duration, the tool’s efficiency had helped the safety team eliminate the equivalent of several days of data entry when compared to using previous auditing methods.

“FAST saved two to four hours a day over how we sorted data before.”

“We had an audit program in place before FAST, but it required a lot of work to input the data,” Mandan Safety Supervisor Doug Scheetz said. “FAST saved two to four hours a day over how we sorted data before.”

Scheetz also noted how FAST’s trending and analytical capabilities made it possible to distribute daily safety bulletins that were customized to highlight specific issues found through each day’s audits. These updates were emailed to Mandan’s turnaround group, safety professionals and operations supervisors, along with their contractor counterparts, to be shared with crews at shift meetings. The information was also sent to engineers and presented during face-to-face meetings with the refinery leadership team.

“If we saw bad trends starting to develop, then we were able to get communication out to all personnel and track the trends to see if our messages were successful,” said Mandan HES Professional Ryan Fisk. 

FAST debuted in Marathon Petroleum’s Refining organization in 2021. With its contributions to the turnaround at Mandan, FAST is now being used at 12 Marathon Petroleum refineries for both routine work and turnarounds.