What’s an operating procedure?

Operating procedures are written instructions that list the steps for a given task and describe how the steps are to be performed. Operating procedures are normally used to control activities that are routinely and non-routinely performed by operators.

Operating procedures are required to safely start-up, operate, and shut down processes, including emergency shutdown. Operating procedures complement safe work and asset integrity procedures.

Without written procedures, a facility may not have the intended procedures and methods used by each operator or consistently execute a particular task in an intended manner. Procedures should be updated and reviewed periodically to ensure that they remain valid.

Some of the examples of processes which require operating procedures:

  • Initial start-up
  • Normal operations
  • Temporary operations
  • Emergency shutdown
  • Emergency operations
  • Normal shutdown
  • Start-up after a turnaround or emergency shutdown

Operating procedures help to ensure that everyone understands their roles/responsibilities in the task and maximizes the efficiency of work processes.

Here is an example of a Troubleshooting Flowchart

Procedures should be written in a universal language whereby everyone will be able to understand. Not only that, but procedures should also have sufficient details written so that a qualified worker can understand consistently and successfully perform the task.