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Pipeline Operator Supporting Virtual PHMSA Inspection Through Document Retrieval

PHMSA Increasing Pace of Virtual Inspections — Are You Prepared?

Earlier this year, we noted that PHMSA was planning to inspect each pipeline’s control room within the next three years. Now, during the global pandemic, PHMSA has actually increased their pace of audits through virtual inspections.

The increased rate of inspections has created a greater need to ensure audit readiness. While many pipeline operators and control room managers prefer an in-person inspection, the reality is that your operation is capable of satisfying a virtual inspection. We can help you prepare.

Our goal is to help operators overcome moments of uncomfortableness, pause, and hesitation when called into a virtual meeting. We can help you approach the audit with confidence through the implementation of the appropriate software tools to support control room compliance.

Area of Contention During Virtual Audit: Document Retrieval

One of the primary areas of contention during a virtual audit is needing to be able to retrieve and present documents to the inspector.

During an in-person meeting, you or your team may be accustomed to combing through papers and files to retrieve the requested document to validate activity in the control room and prove that your personnel followed the procedures in your Control Room Management Plan (CRMP). However, during a virtual inspection, it is very difficult to present paper documents that the PHMSA inspector wants to see.

There is a solution. We recommend that operators move all of their control room documents and records to a digital platform that supports the easy storage, management, retrieval, and sharing of requested documents.

We offer the POEMS Control Room Management software suite (POEMS CRM Suite) that includes a document library and the ability to manage all notes, records, and documents in the library. This way, electronic files can be easily retrieved during an inspection.

Additionally, we offer a compliance log tool that makes it easy to pull up the appropriate information needed for an audit. Automation is built into the tool to ensure that activity in the control room is automatically entered into the compliance log.

There are several benefits of using our software tools in the context of satisfying a virtual audit:

  • Time savings being able to quickly retrieve requested documents.
  • Increased reliability in the records when accessed from a centralized location.
  • Increased accessibility of the records, avoiding the lost record problem.
  • Faster ability to validate conformance to the PHMSA CRM Rule.
  • Increased confidence to answer questions because you are organized and prepared for the audit.

Consider POEMS CRM Suite to Support a Virtual Inspection

When your number is called for a virtual inspection of the pipeline control room, you can walk into the meeting with confidence to complete the inspection in a timely manner to the satisfaction of the PHMSA inspector.

We can help you achieve this objective by first reviewing the current compliance state of your control room, then reviewing the current state of your document and record retrieval, and finally identifying the appropriate software tools to support your control room.

We have helped numerous pipeline operators satisfy in-person PHMSA inspections, and we are well-equipped to help your control room complete a virtual inspection. We have the software tools to help you centralize and organize all records required for a PHMSA inspection.

Contact us today to discuss the needs of your control room. We’ll help you ensure audit preparation for a virtual inspection. We can be reached by phone at 281-598-7100, by email at sales@enersyscorp.com, or through our website form.

Russel Treat

Russel Treat is an industry leader, software entrepreneur, podcaster, and trusted subject matter expert specializing in oil and gas pipeline operations, custody transfer measurement, leak detection, and automation. Russel’s extensive knowledge of pipeline and control room operations gained over 30 years of projects led to the creation of a complete software suite known as POEMS ™ (Pipeline Operations Excellence Management System) delivered through EnerSys Corporation.

As CEO of EnerSys, Russel is committed to delivering the highest value to pipeline operators by addressing their greatest needs and concerns, especially operational efficiency, safety and government regulation.