In today’s economic climate and with the perceived improvements in reliability and safety of our facilities it is increasingly unusual for plants to man for abnormal situations. However one of the biggest concerns expressed by operations personnel is how they are supposed to manage these situations with the personnel they have on duty. This is a very valid concern and one that needs to be addressed, especially as staffing changes are considered.
In order to address this we have developed a complimentary service to our field, console and inside/outside staffing assessments. An Abnormal Situation Staffing Assessment can be performed without having first done the normal staffing assessments however it is highly recommended that these are completed first to ensure that normal staffing levels are adequate.
The methodology assesses the operators’ ability to detect, diagnose and respond. The detection and diagnostic phases are assessed by studying the way the operators’ work and the available management systems, including the control system and its configuration. The response phase is studied using a time-lining technique similar to that used in a Management of Organizational Change study.
Based on this assessment the service can identify any staffing deficiencies and provide suggestions as to addressing them.
The typical process for performing an Abnormal Situation Staffing Assessment consists of a few preliminary conversations to determine the particulars of the study. It is recommended that a client team is formed to include, as a minimum, operators, supervision and appropriate members of the safety department.
As the Client, you will need to have access to and provide the following:
Basic site data, including the number and type of units, the current operations team structure (who works where and who controls what).
Process Flow Diagrams or Block diagrams.
Plot plan with enough detail to identify equipment locations.
Site Emergency Plan.
After this initial data is collected and reviewed, we will schedule a site visit to perform the study. The number of UCDS personnel and the duration of the visit will vary depending on the size of the facility and the scope of the study. Site visits typically range from one to two weeks and require one UCDS representative. The study will take the form of a group meeting with the study team and the Client should plan for the availability of these personnel.
After the site visit, UCDS will require a short period to analyze the data and generate a report. This report will contain a full analysis of the Client’s exposure to risk during abnormal situation management.