At EnerSys, we provide the expertise and resources necessary to help you enhance safety, efficiency, and compliance within your control room. Analyzing the findings from PHMSA provides valuable insight for members of the industry and the information we gather can act as a resource to help your organization achieve compliance and navigate regulatory complications.
In the following blog post, we finalize our review and analysis of the 2022 PHMSA Enforcement Actions by breaking down the information related to sections F through J. We have taken the findings and distilled them into a more-digestible summary, and we’ve included our analysis of some of the larger implications that come from these results. Additionally, we have provided a look at some of the EnerSys tools and services that can help your operation maintain compliance with the CRM Rule.
- F – Change Management: 11 findings
- 5 NOA
- 2 Warning Letter
- 2 Proposed Compliance Order
- 2 Proposed Civil Penalty
- G – Operating Experience: 5 findings
- 3 NOA
- 1 Warning Letter
- 1 Proposed Civil Penalty
- H – Training: 25 findings
- 16 NOA
- 4 Warning Letter/Item
- 2 Proposed Compliance Order
- 3 Proposed Civil Penalty
- I – Compliance Validation: 1 finding
- 1 NOA
- J – Compliance and Deviations: 11 findings
- 1 NOA
- 5 Warning Letter/Item
- 3 Proposed Compliance Order
- 2 Proposed Civil Penalty
We previously covered sections A, B, C, D, and E – read those blog posts here. You can also find a high-level overview of the full 2022 report in our Control Room Findings Overview blog post from the beginning of this series.
Section F – Change Management
Section F of the PHMSA CRM rule focuses on Change Management, specifically §§ 192.631 and 195.446. The rule states that operators must ensure that any changes that may impact control room operations are properly coordinated with impacted personnel. Operators must assure that changes that could affect control room operations are coordinated with the appropriate personnel by establishing communications between control room representatives, management, and associated field personnel when planning and implementing physical changes; requiring field personnel to contact the control room during emergency conditions and when making changes in the field that affect control room operations; and involving control room personnel in planning prior to the implementation of significant changes.
There were a total of 11 findings under Section F, including five notices of amendment, two warning letters, two proposed compliance orders, and two that resulted in a proposed civil penalty.
The findings related to Change Management essentially fell into two different categories:
- an operation’s procedure wasn’t thoroughly defined and failed to indicate when and under what operating conditions impacted personnel must be contacted – in planning or execution
- the operation failed to follow its procedures by not having the proper documentation in place to confirm adequate coordination had taken place, as required
Section F Findings
Findings Related to Inadequate Procedures
- One operation received a notice of amendment when its internal form for documentation failed to include all options for potentially impacted groups – notably, the control center was absent from the list of choices.
- Another organization failed to indicate the need to contact the control room prior to the start of work in its procedures, resulting in a notice of amendment.
- PHMSA issued a notice of amendment to an organization when its procedures failed to address all the elements that may impact control room operations, including defining how changes would be coordinated and implemented in the control room.
- PHMSA also noted that the MOC process should be all-encompassing to evaluate how any change can affect the control room, and should also address controller training and communication.
Findings Related to Lack of Documentation
- Multiple organizations were found in violation under Section F for failure to provide adequate documentation related to change management processes and procedures.
- One organization received a proposed civil penalty of $36, 200 for failure to provide documentation that confirmed coordination with impacted personnel during its implementation of a leak detection system. MOC documentation was not provided, and personnel acknowledged that the MOC process had not been followed.
- The same organization received a fine of $36,200 when maintenance activities that affected the control room were not coordinated and documentation was not provided. The controller was unaware of activities, which involved multiple stations, and the maintenance was not recorded in the shift log.
A total of $72,400 in civil penalties was imposed by PHMSA as a result of violations related to Section F of the CRM Rule. While they were both levied against the same organization, the two findings were similar in nature to the other findings we reviewed. In reviewing the enforcement details from PHMSA on this particular case, the organization was cited at various levels of severity for multiple parts of the CRM Rule – some resulting in other fines.
PHMSA focused heavily on ensuring that operations had thorough procedures in place, reminding us that any ambiguity in process or policy is an opportunity for an incident. In addition to making a thorough review of policy, PHMSA followed through on reviewing the required documentation, ensuring you’re able to confirm that you’ve done the work you said you do, as outlined in your Control Room Management Plan.
Section G – Operating Experience
Section G of the PHMSA CRM rule, specifically §§ 192.631(g) and 195.446(g), focuses on Operating Experience. This section highlights the requirement for operators to review incidents for lessons learned, work to incorporate corrective action into procedures, and that controllers are trained on lessons learned from incidents and other events.
Operators should work to incorporate lessons learned once procedures are developed. This process is continuous, allowing operators to analyze accidents and incidents to identify control room actions that may have contributed to such events and make necessary corrections.
This requirement encompasses various forms of operating experience, including reportable accidents/incidents, near misses, non-reportable events like minor leaks, audit findings, and any other relevant sources. The goal is to utilize this wide range of experiences to enhance the knowledge and training of controllers, enabling them to effectively and safely manage the pipeline, as well as identify and respond appropriately to abnormal, unusual, or emergency situations.
Section G Findings
Findings Related to Inadequate Procedures or Documentation
- One organization received a Notice of Amendment when its internal form did not include a requirement for determining whether controller fatigue contributed to an incident or accident.
- Another operation received a Notice of Amendment when its CRMP failed to identify the methods it would use to evaluate whether control room actions contributed to an incident.
- The operation’s internal incident forms also failed to include multiple areas of the control room for consideration when reporting an incident.
- PHMSA issued a Warning Letter when an organization failed to document lessons learned and training dates, as well as failure to include events external to the company in its training.
- Another operation received a Notice of Amendment when it failed to establish a process to evaluate fatigue as a contributing factor to an incident. The procedure also failed to establish when the form should be used.
One operation received a Proposed Civil Penalty of $32,800 from PHMSA when it was found in violation of the CRM Rule under Section G.
The organization did not fulfill the requirement to review and integrate lessons from accidents into its control room management procedures as mandated by regulations. In the evaluation of a reportable incident that occurred, the organization’s internal review failed to assess whether control room actions contributed to the event, as required.
Although the operator acknowledged the necessity of pursuing a leak detection alarm for the control room, there was no indication of a review of other relevant data for appropriate controller response.
While there were only five findings related to Section G, the implications echo a theme we’ve seen throughout our review of the report’s findings. Your operation’s control room plan, procedures, and documentation continue to be the most common factors that organizations are cited for.
Section H – Training
Section H of the PHMSA CRM Rule, which applies to pipeline operators regulated under 49 CFR Parts 192 and 195, focuses on training requirements for control room personnel. This section aims to address the importance of proper training and qualification to ensure safe and efficient control room operations.
Compliance with Section H requires operators to establish a comprehensive training program that covers the specific knowledge and skills necessary for control room personnel. The training program should include initial training for new employees, as well as ongoing training to maintain proficiency. The content of the training should encompass topics such as control room processes, a working knowledge of the pipeline system, emergency response protocols, abnormal operating conditions, and communication responsibilities of the controller under the operator’s emergency response procedures. The training program must include the use of a computerized simulator or tabletop method for training controllers to recognize AOCs. Operators should also include control room team training and exercises that include both controllers and other individuals, defined by the operator, who would reasonably be expected to operationally collaborate with controllers during normal, abnormal or emergency situations. Additionally, operators must review their training program content annually, or in intervals not to exceed 15 months.
Section H Findings
Common issues faced by those found in violation of Section H include inadequate training programs, lack of documented training records, insufficient coverage of essential topics, and failure to provide ongoing training to keep up with evolving industry standards and practices.
Findings Related to Training Content, Tracking, or Review
- One operation received a Notice of Amendment when its procedures lacked a process for tracking completed training.
- There were five organizations that received violations from PHMSA when they failed to include a procedure for reviewing their training programs. Some of these instances lacked specificity for reviewing parts of the training program, while others lacked a definition for review entirely.
Findings Related to Required Personnel or Training Structure
- Two organizations were cited for failure to provide a structured training program, leaving ambiguity around required personnel and required training content.
- One organization received a Warning Letter when it failed to include required personnel in training in 2018, and then failed to provide records for 2019 training.
- Another operation received a Notice of Amendment from PHMSA when its training program failed to define the required personnel for training. PHMSA also noted that the program does not include a requirement for ‘lessons learned’ as part of the team training.
- PHMSA issued a Notice of Amendment to an organization when its procedures did not address when initial team training occurred. The procedures failed to include requirements for specific content to be included during team training, as well – lessons learned, soft skills, AOCs, etc.
- One operation’s procedures were found inadequate for failure to include documentation used to validate completion of required training courses and assessments of controller progress.
- The procedure also failed to indicate that OQ controller evaluators need to be qualified.
- One operator received a Warning Letter from PHMSA when it failed to establish a training program that included the use of a computerized simulator or tabletop method for training controllers to recognize AOCs (abnormal operating conditions)
- Additionally, the records only indicated course completion with no way to demonstrate adequate understanding or proficiency in the training module
Findings Related to AOCs (abnormal operating conditions) or Infrequent Setups
- Several operations were found in violation of the CRM Rule when their training programs did not include training for identifying AOCs (abnormal operating conditions) that occur either simultaneously, or in sequence.
- One operation received a Proposed Compliance Order when it was found that its training program failed to include an opportunity for controllers to review relevant procedures for infrequently used setups prior to their application.
- The list of infrequent setups was found to be missing information and had not been updated.
- Another operation received a Warning from PHMSA for failure to include in its training program an opportunity for controllers to review procedures for infrequently used setups before their use.
- The list of infrequent setups that would fall under this consideration was unavailable for review
- There were three findings in the report for failure to identify related personnel to include in team training – personnel that would be expected to collaborate with controllers, but that do not work in the control room.
- One organization received a Proposed Compliance Order and a Proposed Civil Penalty when it failed to include at least one controller or control room representative during multiple training sessions.
There were two instances of PHMSA issuing Proposed Civil Penalties related to Section H of the CRM Rule, totaling $64,100. The fines were $27,900 for one operation, and $36,200 for another.
One organization was fined $27,900 when it failed to include at least one control room representative or controller in multiple team training sessions. There were a total of 6 instances out of the 46 training sessions held where the required personnel were not included in the training.
Another organization received a Proposed Civil Penalty of $36,200 when it failed to establish a controller training program that included responding to abnormal operating conditions that would likely occur either simultaneously or in sequence. The operation did not have these elements identified as part of its training program.
The implications of Section H are significant as it ensures that control room personnel are adequately trained to handle their responsibilities effectively. By having well-trained individuals, operators can enhance operational safety, minimize risks, and respond appropriately to incidents or abnormal situations.
For Section H, PHMSA focused heavily on ensuring that operators included all of the required elements for training, including AOCs and the appropriate personnel. If the findings reviewed are any indication of how PHMSA plans to inspect in the future, operators must ensure that their plans establish a structured, documented path, and include all required personnel to avoid regulatory violations.
Pipeline operators regulated under 49 CFR Parts 192 and 195 should carefully review Section H of the PHMSA CRM Rule, develop and implement robust training programs for control room personnel, maintain comprehensive training records, and regularly assess the effectiveness of their training efforts. By prioritizing training, operators can ensure that their control room personnel are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their duties safely and efficiently.
Section I – Compliance Validation and Section J – Compliance and Deviations
Sections I and J of the CRM Rule both cover compliance as it relates to the control room, so in an effort to keep our analysis digestible, we have combined them into one section.
Section I of the PHMSA Control Room Management (CRM) Rule outlines the requirement for operators to provide their procedures for compliance validation to PHMSA or the relevant State agency, upon request. This provision ensures transparency and accountability in maintaining control room management standards for both interstate and intrastate pipeline facilities.
Section J of the PHMSA Control Room Management (CRM) Rule stipulates that operators are required to maintain certain records for inspection purposes, including records showcasing compliance with the rule’s requirements and documentation substantiating any deviations from the prescribed procedures, provided that such deviations were necessary for the safe operation of the pipeline facility. This provision ensures operators maintain accountability for their adherence to CRM regulations while allowing flexibility to address safety concerns effectively.
Section I & J Findings
Findings from Section I
- One organization’s CRM procedures were deemed inadequate as they lacked a process for compliance validation.
- Specifically, the procedures did not include the requirement of submitting procedures to PHMSA or the relevant State agency upon request. Additionally, there was no provision for maintaining records demonstrating responses to requests from PHMSA or the State agency.
Findings From Section J
- One organization received a Warning Letter from PHMSA when it failed to provide records demonstrating compliance with §195.446(h) for the review of its field controller training program.
- Separate training paths were established for the control room and field personnel, each managed by different organizations, but neither could produce documentation to prove compliance with the regulations.
- Four different organizations were cited for failing to produce training records for controller trainees during the inspection.
- PHMSA issued a Proposed Compliance Order for an operation that failed to provide documentation showing adequate reviews of its training program.
- Documents provided had little or no notes.
- One organization received a Proposed Compliance Order when PHMSA found that shift handover records were consistently missing info and whiteout had been used to amend an entry in the logbooks.
- Another operation received a Notice of Amendment when its procedures failed to provide instructions for how to document a deviation.
- One organization received a Proposed Compliance Order from PHMSA when it failed to provide adequate documentation regarding deviations from its control room procedures, particularly related to a specified leak detection system that was not utilized due to frequent false alarms.
- PHMSA issued a Warning to an organization when it was unable to produce compliance documents for previous years. The location was under a previous operator during the time period in question.
Of the findings related to Sections I and J, only one received a Proposed Civil Penalty from PHMSA. The organization received a fine of $36,200 as a result of its failure to maintain compliance records.
Specifically, the organization failed to maintain records demonstrating compliance with various requirements of the CRM Rule. Firstly, there were no records to show compliance with the specified form for monthly alarm review. Additionally, the organization did not use the appropriate form to track and resolve identified alarm deficiencies.
Moreover, records were unavailable to demonstrate compliance with the controller review of Management of Change (MOC) documentation and training requirements resulting from changes.
The big takeaway from reviewing the findings from Sections I and J of the CRM Rule is that PHMSA is placing heavy emphasis on documentation, including historical records for training and compliance. For many organizations, it can be a challenge to locate or access reports and documentation from previous years. Internally developed file systems can be cumbersome and difficult to navigate, and oftentimes they lack the organizational structures needed to access documents quickly and efficiently. Additionally, it can be difficult to monitor the consistent use of these systems, so users end up filing things incorrectly or not at all.
EnerSys has built its portfolio of software and services to ensure the best solution possible for operators in the industry. Our tools combine to help organizations maximize their regulatory compliance capabilities and improve operating efficiency.
CRMgr for Documentation and Communication
For issues involving documentation and recordkeeping, the CRMgr tool from our POEMS CRM Suite is built to help you address many of the findings we have discussed.
CRMgr improves communication across shifts and breaks down barriers between the field and the control room, enabling operators to communicate key information and training material to all relevant personnel.
Articles, training documents, notice of incidents, and even URLs can be assigned for review through the tool. Once training documents are distributed, controllers must read and acknowledge that they have reviewed all assigned materials. All assigned documents are finalized with a time-stamped confirmation to the supervisor, ensuring information has been read.
Users have the ability to log all monthly, annual, and semi-regular compliance-related tasks to align with PHMSA regulatory requirements. Documents are easily accessible to satisfy inspection inquiries, and the assigned reading functionality supports closed-loop communication with the control room personnel. Users can capture valuable activities and use the records created for future analysis to support implementing lessons learned.
ALMgr for AOC Training
If your organization is unsure about whether or not its training program is sufficient to support identifying and responding to AOCs, the ALMgr module enables users to assess gaps in controller reponse, support training to improve alarm response, and create metrics or KPIs tied to controller response. It can also be used to support day-to-day activities once your training program has been updated and controller response gaps have been addressed.
Additionally, EnerSys offers consultations where we can get a detailed view of your program and identify areas of opportunity. We can work together to help you build team trainings, or we can review your CRMP and use that information to take the necessary steps to address gaps in your training.
Take the First Step
We are ready to work together to find the best solutions for your operation. Let’s get started with a consultation about your current compliance state and control room challenges. Take the first step to Natural Compliance by setting up a discovery call with us today.
Call us at 281-598-7100 to speak with EnerSys General Manager Ross Adams or VP of Business Development Dale Schafer. You can also contact us via email at email@example.com or complete our website contact form.
EnerSys has worked to build a comprehensive set of tools designed to help you manage compliance and safety in your Control Room. Through our partnerships with our sister companies, we can offer even more help on your path to Natural Compliance.
- P.I. Confluence (PIC) provides tools for managing your program, processes, workflow, communications, and information exchange in pipeline operations.
- The POEMS™ Program Suite consists of web-based process management software tools to validate and manage pipeline programs and processes.
GCI & Muddy Boots
- Gas Certification Institute offers field operations software, Muddy Boots, to help close the communication gaps between the field and the control room.
- The platform is ideal for addressing change management within your operation, and the POEMS CRM Suite allows for linking and communication between the programs to create, track, and update work orders.