Thursday, November 04, 2010

US - PHMSA amendment to Federal pipeline safety regulations to address human factors and other aspects of control room management

Notification of amendment from US Department of Transportation - Pipeline and Hazardous Materials
Safety Administration.

Safety regulations are being amended to address human factors and other aspects of control room management for pipelines where controllers use supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. Under the final rule, affected pipeline operators must define the roles and responsibilities of controllers and provide controllers with the necessary information, training, and processes to fulfill these responsibilities. Operators must also implement methods to prevent controller fatigue. The final rule further requires operators to manage SCADA alarms, assure control room considerations are taken into account when changing pipeline equipment or configurations, and review reportable incidents or accidents to determine
whether control room actions contributed to the event.

This rule improves opportunities to reduce risk through more effective control of pipelines. These regulations will enhance pipeline safety by coupling strengthened control room management with improved controller training and fatigue management.

Effective control of pipelines is one key component of accident prevention. Controllers can help identify risks, prevent accidents, and minimize commodity loss if provided with the necessary tools and working environment. This rule will increase the likelihood that pipeline controllers have the necessary knowledge, skills, and abilities to help prevent accidents. The rule will also ensure that operators provide controllers with the necessary training, tools, procedures, management support, and environment where a controller’s actions can be effective in
helping to assure safe operation.

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