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Designing Robust Site-Specific O&M Manual

Part of the effort in developing robust operations and maintenance (O&M) practices is designing O&M manuals that are equipment- and site-specific. Here are some considerations when creating such manuals.

1. Developing and validating site-specific emergency operating procedures (EOPs): A consistent process should be used in developing EOPs. The process begins with development of a site-specific list of "Top 10" (or 15 or 20, as appropriate) EOPs in narrative form based on the site requirements, system design, and equipment.

These are distributed to the owner's operations team, engineer of record, and design/construction team for technical review and comment. After concurrence, the EOPs are rewritten in technical detail and distributed again to the same disciplines for final review and comment, including confirmation that the detailed EOPs are written as intended.

Each EOP should be validated in the field after each piece of equipment has been installed and energized. This step ensures the technical accuracy of all EOP content and consistency with the sequence of operations for each system. In turn, the owner's operating engineers should be brought in; the appropriate operator should be walked down every step of every EOP.

2. Putting emergency operating procedures at operators’ fingertips: The documentation of EOPs can take a variety of forms, from a section in the hard-copy O&M manual to various digital formats. In every case, a current emergency contact list should be on the first page. File a hard copy in the facility and maintain a back-up copy at another location.

Similarly, digital files should be maintained on a server in the facility with a backup on a server at another location. Ideally, these are PDF documents. Digital files can also be maintained on small desktop computers, PDAs, or tablets located beside each piece of equipment or system to ensure that the information is readily accessible during an emergency. Many owners are using barcodes or radio-frequency ID (RFID) tags, which automatically open equipment-specific EOP documents.

The most comprehensive approach to digital storage and access is to incorporate EOPs into the computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) or data center information management system (DCIM).

It should go without saying that the EOPs must be maintained as a living document. Review and update the O&M manual annually, at a minimum, as well as any time there is a change in equipment, operations guidelines (e.g., change in arc flash rating), or an emergency contact.


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