Product Family
John Frank


Loss Prevention Center of Excellence Leader, Risk Consulting, AXA XL

Around the world, many facilities have been idled because of the current pandemic, COVID-19. This guidance is intended for facilities that have been idled for weeks or a few months and have applied basic idle plant measures as outlined in our recent article, “The protection of unoccupied industrial plants”. It does not address the more intensive measures needed to restart a facility that has been mothballed for years.

To get started, facility managers should address three core areas in their planning process: Management Programs, Fire Protection and Production Equipment.

Management programs

  • Where production will be increased past prior levels to make up for lost production, follow the guidance in “Risk and safety implications when repurposing operations.”
  • Train returning or new employees who will need to fill need jobs due to staffing shortages.
  • Review contractor procedures and ensure that they understand safety rules especially as they pertain to hot work.
  • Ensure that hot work procedures are rigorously enforced if any such work must be done as part of the restart.
  • Check domestic water systems using the WaterWorks system


Fire protection

  • Ensure that fire protection is in full service before restarting operations. Conduct a 2” (50 mm) drain test on any systems that have been shut during the shutdown.
  • Report that the systems are back in service through RSVP.
  • Double check all valves to be sure that they are in the proper position.
  • Top off water tanks, diesel pump fuel tanks, etc.
  • Conduct weekly and monthly fire pump runs.
  • Alarms should be fully tested if they were not tested at the normal interval during the shutdown. Conduct a spot check regardless.
  • Check batteries on fire protection equipment such as fire pumps and fire alarm systems.
  • Inspect fire doors especially their tracks for damage.
  • Conduct any other unique tests to ensure that fire protections are 100% capable.


Production equipment

  • Perform an inspection on all equipment for potential sources of failure on start up.
  • Depending on the length of shutdown and what was done to idle the equipment, a full commissioning restart may be needed. The presence of a manufacturer’s representative should also be considered.
  • If applicable, remove desiccant material.
  • When filling up fluid systems that may be susceptible to corrosion, consider a passivation* step, suitable for the material being protected.
  • If a corrosion inhibitor or some other protective coating was applied, it may have to be cleaned for the equipment to operate as intended.
  • Conduct a maintenance assessment of items that could have deteriorated and need replacing such as gaskets.


Looking ahead

During these uncertain times, no one can predict the exact timing for when facilities will need to be restarted. However, it’s important to plan ahead. Our property risk consulting team is here is to help. We can provide insights and guidance to help clients navigate the various challenges these circumstances are presenting.

For easy access, download a copy of our guidance here - Let’s get started: Guidance for restarting idled facilities impacted by pandemic

* Passivation is a procedure to provide a protective layer on a metal surface existing in a corrosive environment. Passivation is typically achieved by circulating a mild acid mixed with water at elevated temperatures (140 F – 170 F) for a period of time (12 – 24 hours). At the end of the process, the metal surface is resistant to cracking, pitting, scaling and other forms of corrosion. An industrial water chemistry company is able to assist in setting up a passivation procedure for a specific metal surface.

John Frank is AXA XL Risk Consulting’s Loss Prevention Center of Excellence Leader. He’s available at

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Global Asset Protection Services, LLC, and its affiliates (“AXA XL Risk Consulting”) provides risk assessment reports and other loss prevention services, as requested. In this respect, our property loss prevention publications, services, and surveys do not address life safety or third party liability issues. This document shall not be construed as indicating the existence or availability under any policy of coverage for any particular type of loss or damage. The provision of any service does not imply that every possible hazard has been identified at a facility or that no other hazards exist. AXA XL Risk Consulting does not assume, and shall have no liability for the control, correction, continuation or modification of any existing conditions or operations. We specifically disclaim any warranty or representation that compliance with any advice or recommendation in any document or other communication will make a facility or operation safe or healthful, or put it in compliance with any standard, code, law, rule or regulation. Save where expressly agreed in writing, AXA XL Risk Consulting and its related and affiliated companies disclaim all liability for loss or damage suffered by any party arising out of or in connection with our services, including indirect or consequential loss or damage, howsoever arising. Any party who chooses to rely in any way on the contents of this document does so at their own risk.

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In the US, the AXA XL insurance companies are: AXA Insurance Company, Catlin Insurance Company, Inc., Greenwich Insurance Company, Indian Harbor Insurance Company, XL Insurance America, Inc., XL Specialty Insurance Company and T.H.E. Insurance Company. In Canada, coverages are underwritten by XL Specialty Insurance Company - Canadian Branch and AXA Insurance Company - Canadian branch. Coverages may also be underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003. Coverages underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003 are placed on behalf of the member of Syndicate #2003 by Catlin Canada Inc. Lloyd’s ratings are independent of AXA XL.
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