Posts tagged 'Work'

Just Another Opinion

We are in the process of designing and building a new control room at the refinery. This will replace the building built in the 70s and the control system that has an user interface that doesn't look particularly different from the photographs of when it opened.

This is obviously ...

Wasted Effort or Useful Research?

I spent a significant portion of my day writing a small program to extract some data from one file and convert it into a different format.

I had thought that it would be a simple task but I need to have some level of user interaction, I need to ask ...

Back to Play

Today was the first work day of the new year for myself. Lucky the place was mostly quiet and everyone else was catching up on their own work.

As a result I was able to hyper focus on several jobs and I got much more work done than I had ...

Jack of All Trades

After posting yesterday's post, I thought further about it and though I don't need to know much more about electricity, I do know more and want to learn more. I like learning, particularly about different subjects.

My background as a chemical engineer has given me a good understanding ...

Twas the Day Before Christmas

And all through the CCB1
Not a control engineer was fiddling
Not even me2.

This is one of those days for working offline, in the office and wherever possible, avoiding doing anything in the control room. Sure if something breaks, fixing it is the top priority. But the ...

Little Tricks

One of my colleagues was having trouble earlier today with modifying a tag and asked me to help. This tag had some custom code attached to it and he wanted to add another set of custom code. Whenever he tried linking the code to the tag, he kept getting an ...

Working from Home

One of the kids was ill over the weekend and needed to be kept away from nursery. So rather than completely writing the day off, I setup my laptop as a remote workstation in the dining room. The child was kept entertained by the TV and the occasional interaction from ...

Safety Behaviours

At work we were introduced to an initiative that will be rolled out fully in the new year: safety behaviours.

The introduction went along the lines of: you all know how to behave in a church, and how to behave in a pub. These behaviours will be different and we ...

The Purpose of a Procedure

I frequently see people make a comment regarding procedures along the lines of "monkey see, monkey do", "they take the thought out of the job" or "they treat us like idiots".

I want to take this opportunity to say that is not how I see or use procedures. If you ...

Bullying Bosses

In one of my previous jobs, I did not particularly get on with one of my supervisors. This is not that surprising and to be honest, it would probably be surprising if I had gotten on with every supervisor I have encountered.

This particular supervisor was not my direct line ...

My Fingerprints are Everywhere

During the Process Hazard Analysis that we are currently carrying out, there have been a number of occasions when we are referencing procedures and other documents to check how we are currently managing the various hazards.

It is always a bit worrying when you see that the document in question ...

Ways to Make a Bang

It seems almost fitting that on the 5th of November, Guy Fawkes night, that I would spend the day working out different ways to blow stuff up.

Today was the first day performing a Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) of the plant I used to look after as an operations engineer ...

The Joy of Running a Script

I had the joy today if running a script which took about 20 seconds to run, and in that time, saved another member of my team days of work.

Of course it took me several hours to write the script, to work on the first file but once that first ...

7 Years at Grangemouth

Today marks the seven year anniversary of my employment at Grangemouth Refinery. Unfortunately it has been spent at home recovering from a stomach bug.

I am sure that I managed the first few years without having to take any time off for sickness, but in recent years it has become ...

Starting to Cleanup My Own Mess

At the start of the year, I hacked together a small spreadsheet that did many things that a spreadsheet is not meant to do. It was meant as a proof of concept however is started adding more and more to it. I had a few goes at tidying up the ...

XML Woes

My dislike of XML has just gotten stronger.

I have been working on, and failing to succeed with, two projects involving XML.

One involved manipulating XML written by another program. The problem is that this program was not intending to share this XML with any other programs, so there are ...

90% is Not Good Enough

I have spent most of my day trying to convert some graphics for a up coming project. We have been provided a method of manually converting the graphics but it takes around 5 minutes per graphic and we have hundreds.

So rather than simply using the manual method, I have ...

New(er) Laptop

For a few months now I have been having problems with some of the programs on my work laptop. Today I was given a 'new' laptop with a fresh install. I said 'new' with scare quotes because I think that the laptop is the same age as the old one ...

An Old Acquaintance

Today's highlight was getting to meet an old acquaintance at work. He was actually my boss for the last month that I worked at British Sugar. I had handed my notice in about an hour before I was due to transfer into his department, so I only worked for ...

When Experiments Fail

I understand that the scientific method relies on experiments and particularly on making a prediction then testing it. However it is extremely disappointing when you think you know what is going on, then you make a test to prove it only to find the experiment fails and disproves what you ...

Understanding Vs Solving the Problem

I read an interesting article about setting up a calm work environment and how the founders at Basecamp do it.

One section did catch my attention though:

At a conference attended by 600 people, the authors asked how many had recently enjoyed 3-4 hours of uninterrupted work; only 30 hands ...

Removing Hacks

I spent today fixing a number of hacks that I had previously made. One was a tool I quickly built last week as a mashup of older tools. Even as I was building it last week, I could see that there were lots of bad practices that I had used ...

Are You Sure?

Last night, one of the compressors tripped and was restarted. Due to the way it tripped and got restarted, the machine logic got stuck and generated a couple of extra alarms.

Luckily, the alarm response manual stated how to fix one of them. Are you sure? Unfortunately the logic of ...

RACI Matrix

Today I was reviewing an updated policy document at work. In the document was a 'RACI matrix' detailing who was responsible, accountable, to be consulted or informed about the various steps to the process.

I had never (as far as I can recall) seen one of these matrices before but ...

Glueing for the Future

I have been asked to help glue two separate programs together. The first program generates four different Excel files. The second program needs multiple XML files.

It is such a complex mess and I am not sure what the best way to tackle it is.

Part of me wants to ...

The Last Day

The last day of work before a holiday is always a weird experience. You obviously don't want to start any new projects1 that can't be finished within a few hours.

Everyone else knows this and so they start to avoid even asking you. As a result it ...

Temperature Control

One of the nice things about working in a blast resistant building is that none of the windows open. This means that the air conditioning is able to cool the air within the room without risking some bright spark opening a window"to help keep the place cool".

Unfortunately sometimes ...

Learning From Remote Workers

I have just finished reading an article about the challenges and opportunities of remote working, and I noticed that many of the bits of advice that the article provides to remote workers could equally be applied to those of us that work on the same site1.

In-person time is ...

Access Denied

Earlier today I was attempting to make some changes to a Windows server in a secure way1. I fully accept that my knowledge in this area is not particularly strong and so I started looking for the information online. This was harder to do than I initially thought.

It ...

A Quick Response

It is nice to know that when a safety concern is raised, it gets acted on quickly.

As part of the building works being carried out in our office, one corridor was blocked off with a wooden wall. As I was about to leave last night, I noted that two ...

Life as a Workplace Nomad

For the last week, I have been a workplace nomad.

We were kicked out of our office. All of our stuff had been placed into storage boxes and I have had to live out of one laptop bag.

Initially I wasn't too bothered by the lack of proper desk ...

What is a Bloated Site

At work, I have been asked to help look into why a web based tool has been having performance issues. I am on the team as an outside person without any direct involvement with the project so far. The suspicion is that it is a server configuration issue however those ...

Packing Up the Office

This weekend, the office where I have worked for the last 6 years is getting split in two. Lots of engineers have been moved to new locations in other offices around the site and those of us who are remaining are getting squashed into a smaller area. The rest of ...