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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

Pipeline Safety: Control Room Management/Human Factors

Final rule.

PHMSA is amending the Federal pipeline safety regulations 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. Hazardous liquid and gas pipelines are often monitored in a control room by controllers using computer-based equipment, such as a SCADA system, that records and displays operational information about the pipeline system, such as pressures, flow rates, and valve positions. Some SCADA systems are used by controllers to operate pipeline equipment, while, in other cases, controllers may dispatch other personnel to operate equipment in the field. These monitoring and control actions, whether via SCADA system commands or direction to field personnel, are a principal means of managing pipeline operation. This rule improves opportunities to reduce risk through more effective control of pipelines. It further requires the statutorily mandated human factors management. These regulations will enhance pipeline safety by coupling strengthened control room management with improved controller training and fatigue management.

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