Are you prepared for a Control Room audit?
The complexity of requirements for Control Room Management can make preparing for a Control Room Audit challenging.
As an example, we would like to introduce Michelle, a Control Room Manager, who has been asked to review the Control Room’s readiness for an external audit. The Control Room has assets operating in different regulatory jurisdictions and she wants to verify compliance, but also wants to streamline the process to efficiently evaluate and manage the gaps. Michelle had her team identify the applicable requirements but now is challenged with how to proceed.
Why is it so difficult?
The purpose of regulations is to provide requirements and guidance for safe operation of a company’s assets, in this case the Control Room. Operators understand the importance of pipeline safety and environmental protection, but the regulatory requirements are often complex. Regulations may be subject to interpretation and do not always align with other regulations and industry standards.
The Control Room wants to ensure that all requirements are addressed for the respective jurisdiction, and they have documented processes, procedures, and records. A significant effort is required to align the regulatory requirements and Michelle has limited resources who have the necessary subject knowledge. It is also difficult to keep up to changes and she does not have the time do this herself. She wants to develop a standard approach that can be easily managed and kept up to date, but this may take some time and require others to help. Michelle is worried that an auditor will knock on the door and she will not be prepared. It is very important to her to have a successful regulatory audit that will avoid public scrutiny and regulatory penalties.
How can this be managed?
Depending on the jurisdiction, Control Room Management has various levels of regulatory prescriptiveness and management system requirements. Our subject matter experts and the Pipeline SMS Toolkit can help Michelle perform a gap assessment of current processes against regulatory requirements and verify alignment with the corporate management system. Subject matter expertise will assist in resolving the issues found prior to an audit.
Developing a standard and efficient approach to perform regular reviews of regulatory requirements for the Control Room Management program and integration with corporate management system processes will ensure the company is ready at any time. This process will also make it easier for the company to prepare their responses and material when an audit is announced. A successful outcome and a positive perception of the company will result.
Whether you’re an operator in the USA dealing with the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR § 192.631 or § 195.446) and standards such as API RP 1173 or API RP 1168; or in Canada and working with the Onshore Pipeline Regulations (OPR 99) and the CSA Z662 standard, we understand and can help.