Pipeline controller in control room focusing on pipeline safety management systems (pipeline SMS)

Pipeline SMS for the Control Room: New Article in Pipeline & Gas Journal

Our company is committed to providing education and knowledge to pipeline operators and control room managers by sharing the latest industry insight on pertinent topics.

Pipeline safety management systems (Pipeline SMS) has become one of the most important topics in modern pipeline operations as the industry strives for zero incidents. While Pipeline SMS has far-reaching implications for the entire pipeline operation, we believe it’s important for control room managers and controllers to gain a deeper understanding of how Pipeline SMS applies to the control room.

That’s why EnerSys Corporation CEO Russel Treat wrote a new industry article, “Pipeline SMS: A Control Room Focus,” that was published by Pipeline & Gas Journal in the August 2020 edition of the industry magazine.

The article marks the third EnerSys article published by Pipeline & Gas Journal in 2020. We certainly appreciate this inclusion from the leading oil and gas publication in the world as we strive to provide timely and relevant information to pipeline professionals.

Pipeline SMS: What Should Be the Focus for the Control Room?

In the August article published by Pipeline & Gas Journal, Russel Treat wrote about the importance of positively affect the culture in the pipeline control room to improve safety outcomes. In the article, Russel addressed the methods to support cultural change and how these methods can be implemented in the control room.

Methods to Support Culture Change

Consider three key methods that can support culture change in the pipeline control room to align with Pipeline SMS:

  • Deming Method: an improvement process model that focuses on incremental changes to support a cultural shift. This is the basis for the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle that is a cornerstone of Pipeline SMS.
  • Six Sigma Model: this “lean” methodology helps companies achieve operational efficiencies. It applies to the pipeline control room by building on the PDCA cycle to take a deeper dive into the root causes of safety issues.
  • Risk Management Approach: this can be used in the control room to identify the presence of risk, support culture change through training and education, and work to establish new attitudes, behavior, and thinking.

Risk modeling is critical to help close the small — yet important — pipeline safety gap to create the ideal culture that supports reach zero incidents. This was reinforced by PHMSA Administrator Howard “Skip” Elliott, who said on the May 5th edition of the Pipeliners Podcast that he believes the next-step change to achieve the ultimate safety goal will be culture change through Pipeline SMS.

Implementing These Methods to Support Culture Change

After walking through each of the methods to support culture change, it’s important for pipeline operators, control room managers, and other leaders to come together and determine the best way to achieve meaningful change.

Change has to be achieved at the working level, which means that controllers and support personnel need to understand how every action, behavior, and decision in the control room has a direct impact on pipeline safety. This means that high-level decision-makers need to ask two important questions:

  • What should we do to achieve the outcome we’re looking for?
  • What are the things that could cause an adverse outcome, and how do we measure against those undesired outcomes?

After finding the answers to these questions, pipeline control room leaders need to focus on achieving small, incremental changes. The tools for change include communication, refinement, feedback, accountability, and consistent discussion of pipeline safety to promote effective habitual thinking.

It’s about creating momentum toward zero incidents. Continue to build, measure the results, and seek continuous improvement until you arrive at the objective of building the ideal culture that promotes, embraces, and supports pipeline safety.

Read the Full Pipeline SMS Article in Pipeline & Gas Journal

We invite you to read the full article on Pipeline SMS for the pipeline control room in the August 2020 edition of Pipeline & Gas Journal (find out how to subscribe).

The latest industry article from Russel Treat will help you and your team identify the best approach to support pipeline safety in the control room.

– Need to further discuss how to create culture change in the pipeline control room as part of a Pipeline SMS program? Reach out to our team to discuss your control room and how we can help you support the industry goal of zero incidents.

We can be reached through our website, by emailing sales@enersyscorp.com, or by calling us at 281-598-7100.