What are the main issues operators are facing in power plants? [And a solution]

15 March 2022

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In order to figure out the main issues power plant operators are facing every day, we have interviewed Dave – Floor Operator and Paul Perez – Safety and Health Coordinator both working at the power plant Tri-State Craig Station, Colorado, USA.l

Power plants are not designed to ease the work of operators


Many power plants were built at a time where ergonomics and operator safety & efficiency were not the main concern. This is why many valves are labor intensive and people are getting hurt.

As Dave says, the people that installed the valves in the power plant he is working in had no idea what operators would have to go through to operate them. He says : "valves in the facility are too big, too cumbersome for a human being, and as the plant got older, they got harder. Furthermore, the valves are not installed ergonomically. Some are on the floor, and you would work on your knees. Some valves are upside down, and you would have to close them up your position. Some of them are overhead, with a terrible accessibility."

Regular operations are time consuming and resources taking


Each time there is an operation, Dave and his team have to open and close at least eight valves. Valves that are not the same size, height, place, etc. Furthermore, each valve has about 72 revolutions, which makes a total of about 600 revolutions for opening and the same for closing! 1200 revolutions for just one operation, is a lot! Four operators, 100% mobilized on the task, can only do it.

The aging and dust inside the plant is also a big problem making each valve turn hard to make.

How to solve these ergonomic and efficiency problems power plants are facing?


The idea came to Dave, the floor operator because the valves that his team was operating were so labor intensive that people were getting hurt. He decided to look for a solution with Paul, the Safety and Health Coordinator.

Find out more about the solution Dave and Paul found to operate their valves safely and in no time here.

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Olivier Ben Soussan
Olivier Ben Soussan

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