5 Tools to Comply with the Control Room Management Rule

Take Back Your Control Room: Use These 5 Tools to Simplify CRM Rule Compliance

Control room managers have their hands full monitoring controller fatigue and ensuring compliance with the PHMSA control room management rule.

You may even feel like the CRM rule owns you. No more. If you have the right tools, you can regain “control” of the control room. The key is understanding these five elements to adhere to the CRM rule and to implement tools to help you achieve compliance.

1. Control Room Management: Comply, Manage & Simplify

The control room management rule requires operators to accurately document workload, shift handover, hours of service, fatigue mitigation, and many other items. That is a lot of documentation.

One factor in documenting compliance is a structured shift handover process and proper recordkeeping to report adherence and any deviations. Managing this process ensures that you are prepared for an audit.

EnerSys Tool: CRMgr. As part of our POEMS Control Room Manager software suite, the CRMgr tool simplifies the shift handover and documentation process that provides reports compliant with the CRM rule and API 1168. You will be perpetually prepared for the DOT inspection.

2. Alarm Management: Are Your Controllers Prepared?

The key to alarm management is providing controllers with sufficient time to analyze and react to incoming alarms. In these crucial situations, controllers do not have time to fumble through documents or screens. They need to be trained on how to plan, do, check, and act.

PHMSA requires that each pipeline operator have an alarm management plan and a process to monitor and evaluate the alarms, which is a key factor in maintaining situational awareness. Control room managers also need to document controller response and adherence to the alarm management plan.

EnerSys Tool: ALMgr. This tool in the Control Room Manager suite complies with the CRM rule and API 1167 by managing the alarm rationalization process, assisting with controller response to alarms through alarm response sheets, and generating monthly analytical reports that exceed CRM requirements.

3. Fatigue Management: Manage Workload and Achieve Compliance

Control room managers are typically concerned about whether their controllers are properly rested, alert, and able to maintain situational awareness. And, with increased oversight from PHMSA, it is no longer an option to push the boundaries of on-duty time.

An effective fatigue mitigation program should include a workload tool that provides controllers with adequate time to maintain vigilance and respond to alarms. This is accomplished by understanding controller workload, and how it varies by employee, shift, day of the week, and season.

The program should also track Hours of Service, which includes on-duty time, travel time, quality of sleep, off-duty time, and time spent on training and development.

EnerSys Tool: FatigueMgr. The tools in FatigueMgr ensure compliance with the CRM rule by helping establish standard operating procedures in the control room, enabling proper recordkeeping, and monitoring on-duty and off-duty time for controllers. The Workload Analysis component attaches to the CRMgr logbook and the SCADA system itself to capture workload in real-time, providing users with the ability to report and analyze workload.

4. Point to Point Verification: Have a Plan to Record Communication

Without a plan, it’s easy to lose track of where you are during a point to point verification, particularly when controllers are coordinating with multiple field technicians. Recording this communication is essential for streamlining point to point verification and adhering to the CRM rule.

The issue with point to point verification is the number of variables in-play: keeping track of the status of points requiring configuration and/or repair, and properly documenting both sides of the point to point process when a verification is complete.

EnerSys Tool: PointMgr. The key functionality of PointMgr is the ability for SCADA technicians and field technicians to perform a compliant point checkout. This tool automatically creates a Compliance Log entry, which is readily available and easily accessible for audit support, and eliminates the “lost record” issue.

5. Compliance Management: Be Vigilant About the CRM Rule

Your toolbox is not complete without a plan to ensure that your CRMP (control room management plans) and policies & procedures are compliant with the CRM rule.

  • Can you trace operator procedures to audit protocols?
  • Do you have a data repository for all relevant CRMP documents?
  • Can you link your policies to the industry standards API 1165, API 1167, and API 1168?

On top of verifying baseline compliance, you need to be aware of the latest PHMSA recommendations so that you can continually update your internal documents to remain compliant.

EnerSys Tool: ComplyMgr. This tool helps control room managers maintain the integrity of the plans, policies, and procedures. ComplyMgr also simplifies the process of tracking regulatory changes to determine if you need to make updates.

EnerSys Packages These Tools in Our CRM Suite

The Control Room Management suite offered by EnerSys is geared towards pipeline operators who want to continue using their existing SCADA system and HMI but need the tools to conform to the CRM rule.

The POEMS CRM Suite is the ideal solution to meet the individual needs of operators. Not only do we provide the software tools, but we also follow a detailed process of assessing, implementing, operating, refining, and managing the change in your operation.

Find out how EnerSys can support your operation by scheduling a demo. You can see our tools in action by contacting us through our website, emailing our team at sales@enersyscorp.com, or calling us directly at 281-598-7100.