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Pipeline Controller Discussion

How a Pipeline Controller Can Support an Alarm Management Program

Pipeline controllers are no longer an afterthought in today’s world of pipeline safety management. In fact, controllers play a critical role in helping develop and implement the safety component of pipeline operations.

In a previous era, pipeline controllers were thought of as “executors” responsible for simply executing the tasks presented to them in the control room. Now, controllers are being asked to contribute to control room management plans, help develop procedures, provide input into pipeline modifications, and provide feedback on control room activity.

There are many factors underlying this shift. One key factor is that pipeline operators are being asked to advance their thinking from fundamental alarming to an effective Alarm Management program.

To build an effective program, you need input from all stakeholders, especially the pipeline controllers who are on the frontline of operations.

Gather Input from Pipeline Controllers When Building An Alarm Management Program

When you set out to build your Alarm Management program, make sure controllers are included at the start of the process. Don’t wait until you’ve reached the implementation stage to ask controllers for their feedback. By then, it’s too late and you will end up creating unnecessary setbacks that cost time and resources.

Instead, loop in controllers at the start:

1. Ask controllers to embrace the Alarm Management program as a method to improve their ability to follow procedures, reduce alarm floods, and ensure they can achieve situational awareness.

2. Ask controllers questions about their experiences in each operating condition (normal, abnormal, and emergency), their greatest difficulties in the control room, and whether the current SCADA system and technology is helping or of it’s creating inefficiencies.

3. Read reports and logs from the control room that capture inefficiencies and alarm issues that could be addressed in an Alarm Management program. Then, ask each controller for feedback on each situation to gather additional evidence.

Now You’re Ready to Implement an Alarm Management Program

When you loop in controllers at the start of your process, you will have a much clearer picture about the actual needs of your operation to build an effective Alarm Management program. The last thing you want to do is build a program that does not address real needs in the control room.

Then, after gathering knowledge and input from controllers, you will be able to build a program that controllers will readily embrace to perform their tasks more efficiently and effectively in the control room.

This is not about giving controllers complete control over the program. Rather, it is a method to gather valuable input that will help drive the engine of change from basic-level alarming to a complete Alarm Management program.

One of the ways that we help operators take this step is providing consulting services to assess, implement, operate, refine, and manage the change.

We couple this service with our software, the POEMS Control Room Management (CRM) Suite, which provides complete support for operators, specifically control room managers who oversee the control room.

We would like to schedule a demo of the POEMS CRM Suite with you and your control room team to demonstrate how we can help you build an effective Alarm Management program.

To schedule a brief, no-obligation demo, please complete our contact form, email us at sales@enersyscorp.com, or call us directly at 281-598-7100.

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.