Hazardous works or frequently required jobs need standard and safe operating procedures. If they are well defined and described beforehand and available in the form of ready made document, they are most useful to plant people for easy use. Such procedures are useful in avoiding and reducing accidents.
Meaning and usefulness:-
A standard operating procedure (SOP) is a set of written instructions describing steps of safe working methods and standard engineering practice for hazardous job or frequently required industrial activity.
It describes technical as well as administrative operating instructions from the management. It is designed by duly qualified and well experienced technical person in the plant. It should be amended and updated based on experience of its use. SOP Standardizes work procedure and avoid variations among different workers. It ensures that the same work is done in the same way by all workers safely and efficiently.
SOP should be written correctly. Steps should be chronological. If not written correctly, it is of limited value. The best written SOP may fail if not followed. Copies of SOP should be readily used SOP are useful to prevent shortcuts wrong habits and unsafe practices.
Format for SOP:-
SOP should be written in a well designed format it should be easy to understand. It should clarify its purpose methods of use tools equipment’s and PPE necessary, work permit to be used. Steps and sub steps should be well arranged SOP should have title, Sr no., Date of preparation, Date and number of revision, steps and procedure, action by whom and remarks.
Some example of SOP are as under:-
- Nitrogen purging in a reactor.
- Loading and unloading of tanker of hazardous substance.
- Safe starting or closing down of plant.
- Catalyst loading into a reactor.
- Flue or toxic gas sampling procedure.
SOP should get approval from the top management including safety department. It should be reviewed and revised. Checklist can be used to prepare SOP.