Pipeline CRM

The Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) Control Room Management (CRM) rule requires pipeline operators to create written procedures for the control room. This is a great opportunity for pipeline operators to go beyond compliance requirements and implement operating best practices that significantly enhance reliability and safety.

To effectively achieve and exceed compliance with CRM rules, we offer high performance SCADA displays and alarm management engineering documents and project facilitation. Our approaches are focused on our Situational Awareness and Human factors philosophies.

Situational awareness (SA) provides controllers with a big picture of the operating condition of the assets for which they are responsible. This typically includes both safety (pressure) and operating (deliverability) parameters. Displays and alarms are engineered to bring clear presentation of abnormal operating conditions so that controllers maintain SA and minimize visual and cognitive load.

Controllers can successfully operate as long as situational awareness is maintained and human factors have been incorporated into the design of the work environment, tools, and procedures. If situational awareness is compromised, meaning the controller is out of the loop, then the controller must return operations to a safe operating condition.

Our alarm and human machine interface solutions provide advance notice of approaching abnormal operating conditions, and incorporate procedures that enable controllers to efficiently and effectively return to a normal operating condition.

Along with alarm management, HMI, and control center design, we also provide the most efficient and scientific way to measure controller workload to ensure your control center is staffed for normal and abnormal situations. We have done so many of these studies, in most cases we can compare your workload against the workload from other control centers within the same organization. We also show a comparison of the industry average and the over achievers to give you a real good idea of how you compare to others. Imagine having a report from a comprehensive study that shows one controller is dangerously overloaded and two other positions are under loaded. Then a case example that shows you what the workload would be if you consolidated the two positions into one. Being able to visually see the workload score for each controller really helps to ensure you are properly staffed for all situations.

Oh, and don’t underestimate the power and effectiveness of a good shift handover procedure. This is something we take very seriously, we encourage you to take this opportunity to truly put situation awareness to work, see everything, communicate it, validate it, confirm it, and address it, don’t miss anything. Are you checking for fatigue during the shift change?

We recently partnered with Circadian allowing us to provide a fatigue risk management software tool. Risk factor is very important when creating schedules. This tool will calculate the fatigue score and compare it to other workers, allowing management to staff positions with the most alert and ready to work candidates. In a nut shell, this tool provides all three required levels of FRMS control:

• Determine if a work schedule conforms with “Hours of Service” and “Work-Rest rules”
• Specially tailored versions for RP-755, and other industry and government FRMS standards and “Hours of Work rules”
• Asses scheduling alternatives (e.g., who’s available for OT? Is that shift swap OK?)•

Level 2 – RISK:
• Instantly determine if a work schedule is creating excessive and costly fatigue risk
• Utilizes Circadian’s scientifically-validated CAS-5 fatigue modeling platform to provide an objective Fatigue Risk Score
• With a fatigue score your schedulers can see not only who could work…but who should work

• Allows managers to determine if employee fatigue contributed to the causation of an accident/incident or workplace error
• Scientifically-validated tool for incident and accident investigation work
• Store, analyze and benchmark all your fatigue risk data in a secure database
• Capture the true cost and impact fatigue is having on your operation

Please contact us for a CRM compliance gap analysis, a software demo, or shift handover procedure workshop.

© 2013 User Centered Design Services


UCDS has in-depth experience in designing control rooms and modifying existing field shelters. Our process is compliant with the ISO 11064 Ergonomic Design Standard for Control Buildings. We interview management, supervision and a significant group of the operators to understand functional requirements, what works well in the existing environment, and identification and correction of problems with the existing design. To learn more Click Here


Situation Awareness

Abnormal situations encompass a range of events outside the “normal” plant operating modes, e.g. trips, fires, explosions, toxic releases or just not reaching planned targets. In the past incidents such as Piper Alpha, Milford Haven, Flixborough, Texas City and the 2003 northeast electrical blackout have all been attributed, at least in part, to a fundamental lack of good situational awareness. Early work of the Abnormal Situation Management Consortium® included a survey of the US petrochemical industry. Based on their research the consortium estimates industry losses of around $20 billion per year from abnormal situations, approximately equal to the total annual profits of that industry. Furthermore these studies indicate that companies achieving Best Practices in operations can improve productivity by 5-12%. To learn more Click Here


Fatigue Alertness Management

We have many customers looking to enhance their shift handover procedures and follow some of the Recommended Practices identified in the API documents; others are focusing attention on fatigue and fatigue countermeasures. We have great solutions for both these topics. For more details please contact Steve Maddox. To learn more Click Here



User Centered Design Services promotes Behavior – Based Safety which is a process that helps employees identify and choose safe behavior over an unsafe one. Safety in the workplace is a combination of three measurable components – the person their environment, and their behavior. To learn more Click Here

About the Control Room Operator Performance Group

The purpose of this group is to share ideas and solutions that contribute to improving the performance of the control room operator. Abnormal situations can be managed safely and effectively if we provide our operators with the right training, workload, environment, and interfaces.