How to Plan and Prepare for Plant Shutdown Maintenance

Oct 23rd 2023

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It’s getting into winter, and for many facility managers, ’tis the season to schedule the annual plant shutdown for preventative maintenance, repair, and repaint. So while one group of employees might be enjoying some well-deserved vacation, another crew will be hard at work regrouping the facility for safety and efficiency in the new year.

As time out of service often means “you’re not making money,” it’s best to maximize your down time by planning the shutdown significantly in advance. These days, with product shortages and shipping delays more common than in the past, it might never be too soon to start getting products in stock and workers signed up.

Gear Up to Shut Down

Before the shutdown, ask your employees to stay alert and report anything they notice that might need some repair or repaint. Inspect all machinery ahead of time so that any expected or surprise maintenance can be scheduled in advance.

During a plant shutdown, the crew will be engaged in non-routine activities, so you’ll want to go heavy on the safety training. The majority of major accidents occur during this time because the team is involved in unfamiliar tasks. If the shutdown is unexpected, it’s even more important to keep the emphasis on safety so no one is hurt in the rush to return to service.

Who's Doing It?

Make sure to have a crew lined up in advance, especially if you need people to work during a holiday period. Whether you’re using employees or bringing in an external crew, they should be briefed ahead of time as to what their tasks will be. And feed them! Hire in a catering service so they can take a break on site; free food is always great for morale. Make sure they understand the importance of finishing on deadline, so you can return to service quickly. And make sure you apply products that will allow you to reopen on that same deadline.

An important element of safety is keeping your flooring in good condition and your facility well marked, and your shut down is a good time to bring this up to speed. If your employees feel secure, they can spend more time in production and less time worried about injury. The products in the categories below can help ensure that everyone will have a Happy New Year.

Make a List, and Check it Twice

Watco can help you make a significant dent in your shutdown shopping:

Repair products: Concrete surfaces both inside and out take a beating … boots, heavy equipment, vehicles and chemicals all conspire to wear down even the most fastidiously poured concrete. Watco’s repair product line covers asphalt, concrete, parking lots and loading docks, for smooth sailing (and walking, wheeling and driving) once the crew returns.

Paint and coating products: Paint your floors, walls, parking lots, you name it. Coming back to work with a fresh coat of paint will do wonders for employee morale as well as protect your investment and facility. From simple concrete paint to a more complex epoxy, Watco can help you choose the correct product for the job. Order early so you have it at the ready when it’s time for shutdown and the crew isn’t spending precious time waiting at the loading dock.

Anti-slip products: Watco has a wide variety of anti-slip products for use in any situation. FRP products and anti-slip rolls & sheets can add an immediate layer of safety to your walkways and stairs. Watco also has nonslip coatings for many different surfaces: parking lots, asphalt, concrete floors, and more.

Line marking paint: It helps to see where you’re going, for example, a line marking paint can make sure your parking lot is welcoming and well-defined once it’s time to come back to work. Line marking tape in various colors can help delineate walkways and other service areas inside your facility, and is an easy-to-apply and easy-to-remove solution.

Matting: Just as important as coatings and sealants is matting, which can aid in safety as well as comfort. Create a safer, slip-free surface across your facility from the roof walkway to kitchen areas. Our assortment of anti-fatigue mats help reduce fatigue and discomfort for workers who have to stand up for long periods. If you don’t have matting in your facility, this down time is a perfect time to add some in, making your workplace safer and more productive.

Back to Work

Proper planning and high-quality products can make your plant maintenance shutdown a seamless and productive process. Watco Floors offers a wide array of products to enhance safety, protect against rust, and improve productivity and efficiency during this critical period.

Start preparing for your facility shutdown today to ensure a safe and efficient return to operations. Contact a Watco representative to discuss your specific needs and upcoming projects. Download our Facility Shutdown Checklist to make sure you have all of your surfaces covered.