6 Facts Everyone Should Know About Shift Handovers

Everybody should be aware of the following six facts about shift handovers

When a task and its associated responsibilities are handed over to another person or work team, effective communication is crucial. These situations can occur at the conclusion of a shift, between night and day employees, or during a shift between various departments of an organization, such as operations and maintenance.

Transferring knowledge from an outgoing employee to an incoming employee is known as a shift handover. It is typically viewed as a unidirectional process, in which the outgoing employee decides which information is important to transfer so that the incoming employee can effectively operate the facility.

The goal of handover is to ensure continuity of safe and effective working by communicating task-relevant information accurately and reliably across shift changes or between teams. Three elements are necessary for a successful handover:

  • Preparation by departing employees
  • There is a handover between the departing and arriving personnel. inform one another about a task
  • Information is double-checked by newcomers as they assume responsibility for a task

Failure to communicate during shift handover has resulted in numerous accidents, the majority of which involved planned maintenance work. It was discovered in 1983 that highly radioactive waste liquor was accidentally discharged into the sea due to a breakdown in communication between shifts. Piper Alpha’s disaster was caused in part by a failure in information transmission during digital shift handover, according to the Cullen Report.

There is a compelling need for more efficient, reliable, and precise data at this key moment in day-to-day operations because inadequate shift handover processes have resulted in disastrous events. Shift-change tools are still too few and cumbersome, which raises corporate risk and inefficiency.

Communication between teams working on plants is critical to ensuring the safety of those working on them. The risk of overlooking an important detail is always present when one team transfers responsibility to another. Transparency and openness are essential to a successful transition. Any inconsistency in this communication could pose a safety hazard. Unfortunate accidents might occur as the result of a mistake that was easily preventable.

This type of schedule allows people to work according to a set schedule by creating a shift roster in advance of the event. Scheduling of shift changeovers is done well in advance. It is a fact of life that certain tasks, such as critical repairs or unloading large quantities of raw materials, have their own time scale. These tasks, which may involve multiple teams, can be performed throughout two or more shifts. Major repairs may take several weeks or even months to complete.

For the shift handover app, a standard procedure is used to ensure continuity and minimize errors. Companies will devise their procedure based on their operational requirements. As a result, we have observed that these handover procedures vary widely between companies, with some following a very strict and defined process and others relying solely on individuals to communicate effectively with the new owner.

With an 8 or 12-hour workday, changeover occurs 1095 or 730 times a year, which means there are 730 or 1095 high-risk opportunities for miscommunication that could lead to an incident. When looking for ways to improve safety on the plant, it’s important to ensure that the changeover process itself is defined and managed properly.

When working in a typical industrial environment, the permit to work ensures that everyone involved in dangerous, non-routine tasks on the plant communicates with one another.

So, what should happen to these permits when the shift is handed over to the next person?

This can be done in two ways: 

The old permit is revoked, and a new one is issued by the new shift.

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On the permission document itself, there is a shift-handover mechanism in place, which guarantees that responsibility is transmitted from outgoing to arriving personnel.

It takes longer, but it forces a fresh look at the job and ensures communication. It is more efficient to use the second approach, but there is a risk that something important has changed and the responsible persons are not able to properly investigate it at the time of changeover.

All processes in operations management must work together to improve efficiency and ensure safety on the job.

This process relies on effective communication to reduce the risk of accidents. So that jobs can be done safely when teams change, the permit to work system must be coordinated with the shift handover software procedures when teams change.

To design an effective shift changeover procedure, consider these principles:

  • This should be documented in an easy-to-use, secure, and structured logbook that is ideally electronic.
  • Not only should information between shifts communicate the “what,” but it should also communicate the “why.”
  • Intershift communication should take place between experienced professionals who are familiar with the process and work being done.
  • Relevant information must be readily available to all parties involved, such as through displays around the plant, mobile devices, etc.
  • Everyone should be able to access this material without any difficulty.
  • There should always be a link between the handover and the short- and medium-term production goals.
  • Any open permits, isolations, etc., should be coordinated and linked. In an ideal world, the data would be stored in a common system or database.
  • A direct line of communication between the characters.
  • A management system is used to assign, track and communicate tasks during handover or production meetings.
  • Support for ongoing training and process auditing.

All processes in operations management must work together to improve efficiency and ensure safety on the job.

Author: Nina Mdivani