Pipeliners Podcast

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This week’s Pipeliners Podcast episode features pipeline control room expert Dan Scarberry discussing auditing from the perspective of quality management with host Russel Treat.

In this episode, Dan explains his background and work experience leading up to his retirement and the event that triggered the start of control room management. He also talks about his extensive career in control room management.

You will also learn more about the evolvement of control room management and how PHMSA has helped control rooms operate more effectively and safely with their audit programs and certifications.

Audit as Quality Management: Show Notes, Links, and Insider Terms

  • Dan Scarberry, now retired, has 45 years in the gas pipeline industry with 40 years working in the control room. Dan is now a consultant for CRM Consulting. Connect with Dan on LinkedIn.
    • Columbia Gas is one of Ohio’s leading energy companies and is the largest provider of natural gas service in Ohio.
    • Dominion East Ohio (Dominion Energy) is an American power and energy company headquartered in Richmond, Virginia that supplies electricity in parts of Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina and supplies natural gas to parts of West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.
  • AGA (American Gas Association) represents companies delivering natural gas safely, reliably, and in an environmentally responsible way to help improve the quality of life for their customers every day. AGA’s mission is to provide clear value to its membership and serve as the indispensable, leading voice and facilitator on its behalf in promoting the safe, reliable, and efficient delivery of natural gas to homes and businesses across the nation.
  • PHMSA (Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration) ensures the safe transportation of energy and hazardous materials. Below are the PHMSA inspection forms referenced in the episode.
  • CTSB (Critical Task Selection Board) reviews each course in the PHMSA Training and Qualifications (TQ).
  • AutoCAD is a commercial computer-aided design and drafting software application. Developed and marketed by Autodesk
  • SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) is a system of software and technology that allows pipeliners to control processes locally or at remote location. SCADA breaks down into two key functions: supervisory control and data acquisition. Included is managing the field, communication, and control room technology components that send and receive valuable data, allowing users to respond to the data.
  • RTU (remote terminal unit) is a microprocessor-controlled electronic device that interfaces objects in the physical world to a distributed control system or SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) system by transmitting telemetry data to a master system, and by using messages from the master supervisory system to control connected objects.
  • The San Bruno or PG&E Incident in September 2010 refers to a ruptured pipeline operated by the Pacific Gas & Electric Company. The rupture created a crater near San Bruno, California, caused an explosion after natural gas was released and ignited, and resulted in fires causing loss to life and property. 
  • Texas City Refinery Explosion occurred on March 23, 2005, when a hydrocarbon vapor cloud was ignited and violently exploded at the ISOM isomerization process unit at BP’s Texas City refinery causing damage to the refinery and injuries and loss of lives. [More information]
  • CSB (Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board), is an independent U.S. federal agency charged with investigating industrial chemical accidents.
  • API (American Petroleum Institute) is a national trade association that represents all aspects of America’s oil and natural gas industry.
    • API offers the Fundamentals of Auditing and Lead Auditor Training course to ensure that qualified specialists understand how to conduct effective audits and lead an audit team.
      • Q1 Audits address Quality Management Systems for organizations that manufacture products or provide manufacturing-related services under a product specification for use in the petroleum and natural gas industry. [Example of Q1 Audit Plan]
      • Q2 Audits is a quality management system (QMS) audit for service supply organizations in the oil and natural gas industry. [Example of Q2 Audit Plan]
  • Ohio Public Utility Commission (PUCO) is the public utilities commission in Ohio, charged with the regulation of utility service providers such as those of electricity, natural gas, and telecommunications as well as railroad safety and intrastate hazardous materials transport.
  • APGA (American Public Gas Association) represents the interests of public gas before the U.S. Congress, federal agencies, and other energy-related stakeholders by developing regulatory and legislative policies that further the goals of member companies.
  • HIA (Health Impact Assessment) is a process within the Department of Transportation used to evaluate the potential health effects of transportation policies, plans, or projects on the community and to help integrate these considerations into the decision-making process.

Audit as Quality Management: Full Episode Transcript

Russel Treat:  Welcome to the Pipeliners Podcast, episode 90, sponsored by Gas Certification Institute, providing training and standard operating procedures for custody transfer measurement professionals. Find out more about GCI at gascertification.com.

[background music]

Announcer:  The Pipeliners Podcast, where professionals, Bubba geeks, and industry insiders share their knowledge and experience about technology, projects, and pipeline operations. And now your host, Russel Treat.

Russel:  Thanks for listening to the Pipeliners Podcast. We appreciate you taking the time, and to show that appreciation, we’re giving away a customized YETI tumbler to one listener each episode. This week, our winner is Nick Temple with Rhino Marking & Protection Systems. Congratulations, Nick, your YETI is on its way. To learn how you can win this signature prize pack, stick around to the end of the episode.

This week we have with us Dan Scarberry, many of you who work around natural gas utility control rooms are going to know Dan, and know about his involvement with the AGA and the Gas Control Committee. This week, we’re very lucky to have him to talk to us about his experience with the audit. Well, Dan, welcome to the Pipeliners Podcast.

Dan Scarberry:  Thanks, Russel, glad to be here.

Russel:  Right off the bat, I need to clear something up. We did an episode a few weeks where your name came up, and the guest said that you were doing contract work for PHMSA and you very promptly got out on LinkedIn and corrected me. I want to make an official announcement to the listeners, that you don’t do work for PHMSA, so my apologies.

Dan:  That’s correct.

Russel:  I’m glad that you’re here so you can fully set the record straight.

Dan:  Thanks.

Russel:  Tell the listeners, if you would, a little about who you are and your background, how you got into pipelining, and what you did.

Dan:  Actually I’ve been in the gas industry since 1973 when I started out as a cartographer at Columbia Gas in Ohio.

Russel:  We’re going to have to define cartographer for the millennials in the audience.

Dan:  A map maker.

Russel:  [laughs] There you go. The old way, with pencils and paper.

Dan:  Pretty much, yeah. That’s before, pre AutoCAD.

Russel:  Exactly.

Dan:  Then I got interested when I saw a control room job pop up on the bid board, and that was always the mystery room. You never see what was going on, if the door’s open, it was awfully busy. I bid on the job and I got it, and I stayed in that position at Columbia Gas Transmission for about 16 more years. Then I went to Dominion East Ohio in Northern Ohio, and was in gas control there since up until my retirement in 2018.

Russel:  That’s a lot of years in the gas business, and a lot of years in the control room. I guess you’ve been around, if you’ve been around since we used pencils and paper to draw maps, I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of evolution in the control room. Maybe you could talk to us a little bit about how did the control room change over the course of your career?

Dan:  We had very, very limited SCADA at the beginning, and most of the time was phone calls to a station to get pressures that you record every two hours. You’d look over what was going on and try to make some assumptions. Generally you tend to run your system really heavy, because you really couldn’t detect much of what was going on, other than these occasional pressure reads.

With the advent of SCADA, that shortened that time to analyze system pressures and flows. With more SCADA, better RTUs, more data, then you could run your system a lot tighter, but it also came with a lot more complicated. Back in the old days RTU would bring in maybe 50 points, and today even the simplest RTU can bring in over a 100 or 200. There’s a lot of information available for the gas controller that we didn’t have, say, 30 years ago.

Russel:  Actually I think that’s a great tee-up for what I asked you to come on and talk about, because I wanted you to come on and talk about the audit from an auditor’s perspective. That’s maybe even a little bit misleading, because your background is working in industry. You’ve been the auditee not the auditor.

Dan:  Right.

Russel:  You’ve got enough history and experience, and longevity in the control room that you kind of understand why the control room management rule came about. I’d like you to kind of…you teed this up a little bit about where we were when you started your career versus the amount of data that we can put into the control room now. Maybe you could talk about your perspective on the control room management rule, and why it came about, and what value or difficulties it presents.

Dan:  Certainly. A lot of folks think that San Bruno was the trigger for control room management, but actually, you go back a little further and you take a look at an incident in Texas. This is on the chemical safety board website, at www.csb.gov, and it’s under, if you do a search, under anatomy of a disaster.

You’ll find about everything that could possibly go wrong that led to a lot of the fixes that are shown in Control Room Management.

Like most rules, they don’t put them out there because they want to. They do it to fix a problem or need in the industry to keep pipelines safe for everyone.

That was one of the big leads into it, and then PHMSA would make presentations to the American Gas Association (AGA) over time between 2006 and 2009, so we got a better idea of what it was they’re looking for prior to the rule actually being written.

Through the AGA, I actually had a chance to offer up suggestions or maybe put down ideas that seemed a little awkward or not achievable.

Russel:  My take on this is that — and this is an oversimplification, but I love oversimplifications because it sometimes makes things easier to understand. One of the big evolutions in the control room is, we started sending a whole lot more data and a lot less information, and people were beginning to become ineffective because of the systems they were being asked to use.

The outcome of the Control Room Management rule is, it creates some clarity about ways to think about, what is the information that people need and what are their limitations? What helps them to be effective, and what gets in the way of their effectiveness? That’s my take on it.

Dan:  Yeah, I would agree.

Russel:  I think the reference you make to the CSB website and the anatomy of a disaster, I think that’s a great tool. We’ll definitely link that up in the show notes for people that have interest in that, and it’s actually broader than just Control Room Management because it applies to a whole lot of things. It’s really good content.

I wanted to ask you, let’s transition here a little bit, and I want to talk about the audit. When you first started seeing the Control Room Management Rule go in place and you first started seeing control room audits, what was your attitude and experience around all of that?

Dan:  I’d say, number one, we were just as nervous as could be because in control room, we’d never really been exposed to audits of any kind.

I would sit down with the compliance group, and they sat down with us and said, “Look, we’re going to be there to support you, but we’re going to tell you right now, don’t volunteer anything. Just answer the questions. Don’t be giving a lot of information or they can know you’re on something.”

Literally, I walked into this first meeting with the auditors on Control Room Management, my defenses were on high alert. I also noticed that they were on high alert too because literally, when you walk into a room and your fists are up, the other person, they’re going to get defensive, too, so it was not a very comfortable meeting.

You were always worried about saying the wrong thing, or you’re going to trip up, you’re going to cost the company a fine, so it was not a good place to be. When you don’t want to say much about what you’re doing or how you’re doing it, then they see what you’re telling them, all they’re thinking is, “What are you trying to hide?”

Russel:  I think that’s right. I think that’s exactly right. When I was in the Air Force, there was a joke that’d always go around that was, what are the two biggest lies in the Air Force? That was when the inspector general shows up and says, “We’re here to help,” and when the base commander shakes his hand and says, “We’re glad to see you.”

Dan:  [laughs]

Russel:  What you’re saying is like that. There’s posturing and positioning, and it’s coming out of a concern about not so much doing the thing or saying the right thing. It’s not doing the wrong thing and not saying the wrong thing, which is, it’s very different, right?

Dan:  Yeah, it is, and it, like you said, leads to a lot of tension.

Russel:  No doubt. Before we got on the mic, we were talking about the API auditors’ course. You said that was really a transforming experience for you in terms of your thinking and thought process around the audit.

Dan:  Yeah. By 2016, we’d been through three Control Room Management audits. The third one we went through was, it does seem like the auditor was really hostile, it appeared to me. I got to thinking, “I really don’t understand what it is they’re looking for. Maybe I need to understand their point of view.”

I signed up for the API course called “Fundamentals of Auditing and Lead Auditor Training.” Actually, that was very interesting. It was a three-day course. While mostly, they were talking about Q1 and Q2 audits, they also did get into compliance audits.

Russel:  I’m sorry, can you define Q1 and Q2 audits for me?

Dan:  Q1, Q2 are quality assurance type audits, mostly to make sure that your process works fundamentally and produces the results you want to do. Mostly, it’s geared toward refineries, I believe. I did get there, and that’s why they were teaching us that the auditor, that they’re the help with the quality and compliance.

They’re not necessarily to nail you, but if you look at it from the position of they’re out to point out the shortfalls that need improvements. I also recognized after this that our CRM plan needed a lot of reorganization to make it easier to follow the code.

That’s one thing I also took back from the course, was that your plan needs to be able to be followed easily. Ours jumped around a lot. That was one of the auditors’ complaints, that he said, “I can’t follow anything in your plan, because you jump all over the place.”

Once I got to feel that auditors aren’t out to nail you, they’re out to actually help you improve your process…The other thing we weren’t doing was necessarily making our plan available. From the auditing perspective, it’s nice to have your plan or procedures in hand ahead of time, so that I can look at it at my own leisure and figure out what I need to do.

Find out where maybe I have questions, and makes it easier for the auditor to familiarize themselves with the unique method of your compliance. Every company is different, especially in the control room area.

Russel:  What I hear in this conversation, then — and I think this is certainly my experience — you worked in a control room for the same operator for virtually all your career. I’m a guy who works as a consultant supplier to control rooms.

I see a lot of different things, so there’s always a certain amount of learning required to understand each operator’s unique needs. What’s different about how they operate, and why is that difference relevant? All that stuff’s been carefully thought through.

People don’t just arrive there ad hoc. They’re thinking through. I guess what I hear you saying is one of the things you learned is that, to the extent that an auditor can understand your unique approach and the reasons behind it, that’s very helpful. Am I hearing that correctly?

Dan:  Yeah, that’s correct. They don’t always need to have you face to face to do that, if you have a well-written plan and well-documented procedures. One of the things I found was that what made our procedures hard to follow is that they were just listed by a title.

After I went through this compliance course, or auditing course, we went through, and we numbered all of our procedures. We numbered the paragraphs below the procedure, so that when we went back to our plan, and we referenced how we were going to comply with this piece of the code, we could not only name the procedure, we could also aim them to the paragraph.

Some procedures cover several pieces of the code, such as shift change, because that’s in two places within the code. When you combine that all into one easy procedure, sometimes, it makes it three pages that the auditor would have to go through to see if this particular question is answered within that procedure.

Russel:  Right. That makes perfect sense to me. To the extent things fit an organization that the auditor is familiar with, their work gets easier.

Dan:  Exactly. This is, make ours somewhat similar to a Q1 quality assurance type plan, and that’s what their familiar with, then that should make the audit go easier. That was my whole goal, was to figure out how we can make the audit easier for the auditor to get what they needed to get back to their superiors on that.

Russel:  I may be taking us down a rabbit hole, but I have to ask the question. Where would I go to find a good example of a Q1 audit plan or a Q1 quality plan?

Dan:  That’s a good question. I don’t know off-hand. The auditor training I went to, most of those folks had been doing audits for a while. They were familiar with this type of audit. I had not been to it, and I don’t know where you would find examples.

Russel:  Well, okay. [laughs] I think I just got homework. I’m going to try and find that, see if I can get something to put on the show notes, so that people can get an example of that.

Dan:  As we went through the training, one of the things they showed us was a plan that had a particular area of how you do something specifically. Then when you went to the procedure that was written to enact that part of the plan, it was quite a bit different.

It appeared that the person who wrote the procedure was the operational person, who hadn’t necessarily discussed it with the person who wrote the plan. That’s the kind of things they’re finding in a Q1 audit, is to make sure that what’s in your plan and your procedure follows what’s in the plan. That applies itself even to regulatory audits.

Russel:  Sure. At least in my experience, if I think about the control room management audits rolled out, they started with, “Okay, we’re going to audit your plan and see if it conforms to the rule.” Then they started auditing your procedures to see if they perform to your plan that conforms to the rule.

Then they started auditing your performance. Are you doing the things that your procedures say you should do, and can I verify they’ve been done?

Dan:  Exactly, you need to have the records.

Russel:  It’s interesting, because one of the things I’ve never thought about — and it’s coming up for me in this conversation — is just how centric to quality, quality management, and quality management programs the control room audit could be, if you put that frame on it. Again, I guess that’s one of your takeaways.

Dan:  Yeah, because once again, the net point there to help make sure that you’re following the compliance and can make suggestions on ways that maybe you can improve your processes or your plan or procedures.

Russel:  Ultimately, it’s not about compliance. Ultimately, it’s about operating more effectively and more safely.

Dan:  That’s right.

Russel:  What would you say your key takeaway from that auditor’s course was? If you were going to summarize that down to one to three things, what would you say your key takeaways were?

Dan:  I would say the number one was that the auditor is there to help you, regardless of how you might feel. If you come across as hard to work with, then they will come back the same way. Auditors go through all kind of audits and experiences.

Sometimes, they’re used to getting a defiant customer. Their defenses are automatically up. If you work at it as a partnership, I think it’ll go a lot smoother.

Even if there’s things that you need to fix, they’re the authority, and they’re the ones who probably know the best way for you to apply your fixes that makes the most sense and gets you in compliance.

Russel:  What did you shift in the way you were approaching things after you went through this course?

Dan:  Just to give an example, on our next audit, 2018, it turned out to be more of a joint review and discussion. One thing they surprised us with that the Ohio Public Utility Commission, they originally had their own set of questions, like 25 questions for CRM.

When they showed up at our office, they whipped out the PHMSA IA equivalent questions, about 124 questions. That was quite a surprise, because there’s a lot of questions in there for tasks that are not found in the rule.

I think the sixth question we got to was a question about, under roles and responsibilities, “Do you require your controllers to remain at the console once a SCADA command has been executed, until it’s fulfilled, or verbal commands are fulfilled?”

The first answer was, “Well, duh, that’s their job,” but it wasn’t written in our roles and responsibilities. The first thing I did was get defensive. I said, “Well, it’s not in the code.” He said, “Well, let’s look at the code.”

I rolled over next to him, and we looked through the code. He agreed it wasn’t in the code, and it wasn’t in the FAQs. Then he looked at me, and he said, “Well, you know, it’s in this question set.” He says, “And I have to respond.”

I got to thinking, “You know, this is not a big deal.” I said, “How about this? Let’s just add it that we will add this to our roles and responsibilities. We’ll make sure that everybody is trained on it and that it’s part of our training going forth.”

He thought, “Well, okay, that’ll work.” He says, “How soon can you have that done?” I said, “Well, six months.” He says, “Six months? Why so long?” I said, “Because we’re probably going to find other things like this. That way, we can give you our proof of compliance and these changes in six months in one group. Then you can just close out our whole ticket here.”

He was fine with that. I wrote down my recommendations. He wrote his version down, and we found probably a couple dozen things like that that were in the question set that we weren’t prepared for, but agreed that it was manageable, we could do a fix, and include it.

When we got to the end of it, he went through his list of concerns and how we would fix it. I reviewed my set and made sure we were on the same page. We agreed to the language. We agreed to the fixes, so that we were both on the same page. We didn’t walk away with two different ideas of how things were going to get done.

With that, the audit was actually pretty successful. I didn’t come away feeling like I was a drained out, squeezed out rag at the end of it, because it wasn’t so much a fight as it was a discussion. What was interesting is that our compliance officer, one of our compliance observers was there.

He said that most supervisors get very defensive of their methods, and they’re unwilling to consider any of the auditor’s suggestions. He said, “This is one of the best audits I’d ever been in.” He was a former auditor from the state of Ohio who was working for Dominion at that time.

It was impressive enough that he actually told his manager, and the manager of the compliance group asked me to go to their next staff meeting to talk about a better way to approach an audit to get a more effective audit. I must have made a splash.

Russel:  I guess the questions that’s coming up for me is to what extent do you think that the modifications you made to your program as a result of that audit improved your operations, and to what extent was it just administrative modifications?

Dan:  A lot of it, in that particular audit, was improvements on our training, especially for near misses, which we didn’t have much training on. We needed to prove that, because when you have a near miss, usually, the controller who was working at the time is one who got the benefit of being scared and working his way through the problem.

What we weren’t good with was sharing that with the other controllers so that they also could have that same experience, or at least the same knowledge base. “If I get into this particular difficulty, how would I fix it? How was it fixed before, and where does it apply into other spots?”

That particular audit actually helped us focus on several things, including near misses, but it just made us for a better operator.

Russel:  Follow-up question. As you were going through the things that the auditor had in their questions that you hadn’t contemplated, were you able to ask questions like, “Why is that in there? Where does that come from?”

Dan:  What I found was, a lot of times, they didn’t know. They just knew that it was in this new question set, and PHMSA required them to fill out the new question set. Now, I think that will change as PHMSA continues to work on their auditor training to give folks a better background on questions like this.

Russel:  I guess that also depends on who the auditor is. Some of the auditors would know, more experienced, senior guys. What I understand, based on what I’m hearing about the future of where PHMSA’s moving, is that they’re looking at doing more integrated audits and sending out teams, where the team has a specialist in various areas.

As that happens, there’ll be more expertise, control room expertise, during the audit of that type. I think that’s what they’re trying to get to.

Dan:  I think they’ll get there. A lot of these questions that were in the question set that we were not ready for, none of them were difficult. I consider them more like best practices that just needed to sharpen up. That weren’t necessary in the FAQs or the rule itself, but just probably things that PHMSA had observed that was lacking or was an improvement in some shops that weren’t in others. That’s why they included it.

Russel:  I really like the idea of using those questions as an opportunity to discover new training for near misses. I think there’s a big need in our industry for that kind of training. I think it’s something that a lot of operators struggle with. “Where do I get relevant, real-world examples of near misses?”

Dan:  Right. You know in that question set that they use — it’s available online, we could put that in our notes — each question has a code. In that code, it has a repeat or an R. What that tells you is if it ends in a P, they’re looking for a procedure. If it ends in R, they’re looking for a record.

Russel:  Let’s do that. Let’s link that up, because I think some people would find that valuable to see. I wanted to move on and say…We talked also about some involvement you had through the AGA with the critical tasks.

You should talk about that, because I’m not remembering the details. Maybe you could inform us about that as well.

Dan:  Sure. Once your aide contacted me, since I live not too far from D.C., about attending a Critical Task Selection Board of PHMSA at their inspection training center in Oklahoma City. It turns out that PHMSA regularly has been evaluating all of their training for their auditors on a regular basis.

This one, they were looking to evaluate their training for control room management SCADA. Up to this point, PHMSA had not really been inviting industry, mostly just internal auditors and staff from PHMSA.

They’d expanded out to two voting members from industry, which ended up being a gentleman [from APGA] and one observer from HIA. I got to attend this CTSB —  and what the CTSB does is that it looks at all the tasks as needed to train an auditor to be effective in auditing a particular area.

PHMSA had asked that I not describe their whole training process in detail, so all I can touch is just a few highlights of things that I thought were noteworthy. The CTSB is just a lease line for developing a course.

PHMSA Training Center is literally like a college campus. They have accredited courses taught by instructors, people with backgrounds in educational development. When we look at this control room management, they looked at auditor feedback, first of all.

One of the things that they got a majority of auditors saying is that number one, they need two to three years of industry experience before they conduct, or even before they start doing the training for CRM. They just felt that, just taking the course, they weren’t that well prepared to go out and do an audit.

The other thing they said was that they needed more background. The PHMSA group, we took that all into consideration. I think what they will end up doing is adding more prerequisite courses and maybe more industry experience, so that when the auditor does come out, he’s better versed, he’s not just thrown in the water cold, and can make more solid suggestions.

I don’t know, maybe at some of these AGA meetings, you probably heard some pretty wild stories about inspectors who have some really off-the-wall ideas of compliance.

Russel:  Yeah, I definitely have. [laughs]

Dan:  I think the goal here is to make sure that the training is thorough, it gives the inspector what they need, and they can be more consistent with what they come out with as far as findings and inspections.

Russel:  I would certainly say that I believe that one of the things our government actually does exceedingly well is training, and in many, many, many domains. In fact, people come from all over the world to participate in training that is offered by the U.S. government, because we’re really leaders in that domain.

Certainly, these programs take time to build, but I would certainly expect that, over time, you’re going to see more capability at PHMSA around the control room and more ability overall to lean into the audits and add value.

Dan:  That’s interesting. You mentioned that…

Russel:  That’s probably, I’m sitting there, I’m listening to myself say that, and I’m thinking about how many people I know would react to that statement. [laughs]

Dan:  Well, I know what you mean. I can only what I observed. What I observed is an effort to provide better quality training for inspectors. Now, each inspector’s different, but hopefully, the training is going to produce better results and maybe more consistency in opinions.

One of the things that come up during our CTSB was that there were hardly be an emphasis on how well your controllers are prepared for, to receive a response. It’s not been a big part at this point, but it’s something they’re going to be looking at closer.

In my view, control room management was designed to fix problems in the industry, but it’s also designed to give the controllers the tools they need to operate safely.

Russel:  That’s exactly right. I absolutely agree with that. As I’ve seen operators implement things like high-performance HMI, alarm management programs, fatigue management, shift handover, and all the other things around adequate information…

As I’ve seen operators implement these things, I consistently see two things happen in the control room. One is the level of anxiety in the control room drops. The other thing is, the level of professionalism in the control room comes up.

That’s consistent across every place I’ve seen this done. My opinion is that I know that any of this kind of change is costly, difficult, and can be a challenge, but I do think it’s helping us be better.

Dan:  I would agree. If a control room management plan procedure is done well, the controllers doesn’t even know that they’re doing it. I heard one auditor always asked, can your controller show me where this control room management plan is?

Well, probably, they can, but if you asked how often they actually whip it out and looked at it, it’s probably rarely. If they’re given the tools they need, they fulfilling that plan.

Russel:  Yeah, no, exactly. Exactly. Look, I want to do something that I frequently do at the end of the episode. I try to get to three key takeaways. I think, in this context, it’s like, “What are the three key things that I’d want the industry to know about the audit?”

I think, based on this conversation, what I’d say, number one is, look at the auditor as a helper, not an adversary. That’s the first thing.

I think the second thing is look at the audit as an opportunity to improve my ability to operate. Then lastly, I think the last takeaway is have an expectation that these auditors need, should be, and will be properly trained and are experts at what it is they’re doing.

Dan:  I think you got all three.

Russel:  [laughs] Well, very good. Dan, thanks so much for joining us on the Pipeliners Podcast. We’ll definitely keep you around. I think there are some other conversations around the control room that would be of interest to those that listen to this. Thanks, again, for your time, and hope to see you around the block.

Dan:  Okay, thanks, Russel. Appreciate the opportunity on the Pipeliners Podcast.

Russel:  I hope you enjoyed this week’s episode of the Pipeliners Podcast and our conversation with Dan Scarberry. Just a reminder before you go, you should register to win our customized Pipeliners Podcast YETI tumbler.

Simply visit pipelinerspodcast.com/win in to enter yourself in the drawing. If you would like to support the podcast, please leave us a review on  iTunes/Apple Podcast, Google Play, Stitcher, or whatever smart device podcast application you happen to use. You can find instructions for this at pipelinerspodcast.com.

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Russel:  If you have ideas, questions, or topics you’d be interested in, please let us know on the Contact Us page at pipelinerspodcast.com, or reach out to me on LinkedIn. Thanks for listening. I’ll talk to you next week.

Transcription by CastingWords

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