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IsolationPoint FAQs

This page provides some frequently asked questions and answers about IsolationPoint.

 

We already have paper based ( Document / Spreadsheet / Database ), isolation procedures, why do I need IsolationPoint?

Firstly, when it comes to execution, paper based isolation procedures require people to act as translators to connect the text on a page to a physical isolation point, with 100% accuracy, on every occasion!  This difficult task is made more difficult when incorrect isolation points look similar to the correct isolation point.  This is a common scenario in many plants that incorporate multiple process trains.  To reduce design costs, plant layouts are simply copied and pasted at the design stage yielding equipment and layouts that all look the same.  In addition, the use of long plant identifiers or numbers that only vary by one character or digit between plant items adds to the chance of error.  IsolationPoint uses a computer to assist a person to identify valves, switches, gates etc.  Page translation, plant appearance and long identifiers cannot confuse IsolationPoint.  Put simply IsolationPoint adds safety through accuracy.

Secondly, execution information is often noted on paper based isolation plans.  This execution information includes when each step was completed and by who, signatures, lock numbers etc.  If execution information is entered into a computer when the plan is completed it is very time consuming and prone to error.  If the execution information is not entered into a computer following execution, it can't be searched and information reports cannot be compiled.  In addition, the document has to be indexed and filed which also takes time.

Thirdly, when it comes to execution preparation, paper based isolation procedures introduce the possibility of page loss, hence the risk of missing steps when the plan is performed.  Page loss is possible when a multi page plan is printed and not all pages are collected.  This occurs when people are in a hurry and don't notice that there is a paper jam, the printer is out of paper or simply pages are retrieved before printing has been completed.

Finally, document based isolation procedures provide compilation flexibility.  Flexibility introduces a greater possibility for compilation errors.  In the case where a specific isolation point is used in more than one isolation procedure eg forward (isolating) and reverse (returning equipment to service) isolations, entering the same isolation point identifier twice elevates the liklihood of copy / paste / transcription errors.

 

How can I include different isolation verification methods for the same isolation procedure?

When defining an isolation point you have the option of choosing a verification method for indirect exposure and a verification method for direct exposure.  This feature supports the use of a more stringent isolation verification method where a worker may be directly exposed to the energy source.  This circumstance arises where a worker disconnects motor cables on a conveyor as opposed to where a worker may be changing a belt idler on the same conveyor.  In the first instance a "Test for Dead" is required whereas in the second instance a "Start Attempt" may be all that is deemed necessary to verify the isolation.

 

We use a lock board / box for group isolations, can these be utilised in IsolationPoint?

Yes.  A lock board or lock box can simply be included into IsolationPoint as just another isolation point.  In this way the lock board or lock box can then be used as a step in an isolation plan.