Most people, given the opportunity to travel in a role, would bite your arm off. As a figure of speech, this is exactly what Adam Walker did when offered the job as a Site Technician for Smith Flow Control. Despite being the youngest addition to the Site Service Team, there were no reservations in appointing Adam, a dedicated and conscientious individual. SFC also knew he would be learning from some of the most experienced field engineers in the industry – world class professionals, and that their knowledge would be quickly shared. SFC place great value on the continuous professional and personal development of employees and Adam’s appointment was a true reflection of this.
Those that take a short-sighted view of the role may think it involves a glamorous lifestyle of travel and seeing new places. However, more accurately, it is a physically demanding and mentally challenging position, that would only suit very few people. Any one of our Site Service Team can be away for days to weeks on end, in some of the most inhospitable environments around, away from family, friends and civilisation.
However, Adam was absolutely elated with his promotion to Site Technician; this was something he felt he had worked very hard for, and was always very keen to join the team of Site Service Engineers working at SFC.
Adam’s main remit is the North Sea, although he has also been to the Middle East a couple of times. Our Site Service Team will go to wherever their work stipulates; it just so happens that we continue to have a lot of work in the North Sea. Despite uncertainties regarding the stability of this industry, safety continues to be of paramount importance, and our safety interlocks are a positive contribution to this.
Adam’s days are long (between 12 – 15 hours on average). A typical day would begin at 5:30am with a quick breakfast, just in time for the morning briefing (at approximately 6am) where he would update the Ops Team Leader on the status of his work. A typical meeting would involve 15-20 people, and last half an hour or so, which includes a full safety briefing.
It is imperative to have the correct permits for work, which are authorised by a Team Leader or IOM. On some occasions, it can take up to a day for a permit to be released, which can be quite frustrating at times, but this is an important part of the process which cannot be overlooked.
‘Nothing is so important, that it can’t be done safely’, is drilled in at every briefing. Therefore, nothing should be rushed if there is the possibility of it compromising safety. A couple of tea breaks ensure operators are refreshed and an hour lunch break is positively encouraged, as their days are long and challenging.
At the end of the working day, Adam surrenders his permit to a point of authority and debriefs management. Dinner is typically served from 5-7pm, which can be quite tasty at times! There is entertainment, pool tables, a small cinema room etc, but at the end of the day, bed is always a welcomed retreat. However, Adam adds, that it’s very rare to have a room alone. More commonly, you will share with a second person, if not more, which is something you just get used to.
Adam approaches all jobs methodically; using a P&I Diagram he undertakes an initial visual inspection of the area of work and allocates approximate time frames for the completion of tasks. From a simple walk around Adam can quickly assess the condition of valves. Adam elects the more time consuming tasks first, i.e. valves which may have been subject to corrosion and where hand wheels may prove more difficult to remove. In some instances it may take over a day to install one interlock – it really depends on the condition of the valve. On the contrary, new valves can be far quicker and commissioning exercises on a new plant can be a real treat! There will be days where he works evening shifts, so sleeping patterns vary, but this is something you soon adjust to.
However, Adam wouldn’t change it for the world and is looking forward to his next job in the New Year!
More about our Site Service Team:
Our team of highly trained and experienced Site Service Engineers offer world class support to plants across the globe. With an in-depth technical understanding of our equipment and services combined with a passion for safety, compliance and quality, our team is committed to doing things the right way and offering a service which is second to none.
We offer the following services:
Surveys – Find out more
Maintenance – Find out more
Training – Find out more
Commissioning – Find out more
Pictured below – Adam Walker – Site Technician