Control Room Management Response Guidance to COVID-19 or Any Pandemic

08/27/2020

G2 Integrated Solutions (G2-IS) is providing support calls as some of the items listed below may be difficult to achieve in certain operations. Please note that G2-IS is providing this support as a public service to assist our industry during these turbulent times. We know that industry groups are working on webinars to provide information on operations during the pandemic, and G2-IS can augment that with additional guidance – provided quickly, directly, and privately. We have outlined some general steps below:

1. Implement social isolation within the control room area – restrict the control room to essential personnel only.

a. Operators that have community control room areas may need to relocate personnel and equipment or restrict access of non-control room employees or contractors.
b. Operators should ensure that appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is available to control room staff, mindful that staffing levels may fluctuate.

2. Potential isolation of control room staff from outside influence; operators should consider restricting staff exposure by providing hotel or corporate housing. Control room staff should be provided, or reminded to obtain, the following items:

a. Potential onsite sleeping accommodations
b. Medicines (2-week supply)
c. Food supply (2-week supply)
d. Essential personal items e.g., glasses, contacts, etc.

3. Operators should immediately verify any backup control rooms are fully operational and available in case the primary control room becomes unavailable.

4. Provide refresher training to control room staff on normal, abnormal, and emergency operations. Identify when these statuses change: Does the pandemic or related issues trigger them, or does the status remain as operational only?

5. Operators should consider immediate training of additional personnel as controllers during the pandemic (including cross-training). Consider maintaining a reserve staff for these occurrences and rotating them in and out to maintain qualifications.

6. Operators should consider the potential for remote operations from home using laptops and other devices. Operators should involve their IT and SCADA teams now to develop alternative work strategies if possible.

a. Consider the increased cybersecurity risks involved with remote work; ensure that the IT and/or information compliance team are aware and have assessed that home connectivity options are compatible with company security, policies, and requirements.
b. Assess the reliability of home power supplies, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) devices, and backup generators.
c. Assess the potential security and personnel at the controller’s home.
d. Enact appropriate control measures to ensure controllers can always be contacted. Control room supervisors/leads should schedule regular check-ins with remote staff and should be kept informed of all changes in location and/or contact information.

7. Determine plan and procedures for shutting down operations due to lack of business need or personnel. Ensure that business continuity plan is updated, and start-up procedures are in place.

8. Operators should consider how to deal with the death of personnel. Provide grief counseling and support for controllers and family.

If you have any questions or wish to discuss, please email or call either of the contacts below.

Stephenie Gaudet
Vice President
Stephenie.Gaudet@G2-IS.Com
M: 202-870-1600

Wallace McGaughey
Director of Regulatory Compliance
Wallace.McGaughey@g2-is.com
M: 405-820-1304

“G2-IS is the premier asset integrity solution provider in the industry, with a very strong legacy of dedicated software solutions for decision support. We are very excited about the release of the new Gas HCA Tool as the first upgrade of G2-IS’ legacy software products” said Mauricio Palomino, G2-IS Vice-President of Software, Technology and Marketing. “We are also launching a new Knowledge Center, an open web platform hosting our software documentation and support content to give our users a seamless product documentation experience when working inside ArcGIS applications”.

“The new Gas HCA Tool increases HCA, MCA and Class Location accuracy by eliminating inefficient manual processes, and gives operators the power to rapidly and efficiently produce results that are consistent, reliable, reproducible and defendable,” commented Tracy Thorleifson, GIS Technical Authority for G2-IS. “The new version has been completely redeveloped to take advantage of the latest Esri technology, allowing us for the first time to offer the Gas HCA Tool as a desktop, server or web application, on premises or cloud-hosted, with either classic perpetual licensing or a software subscription. It also incorporates MCA analysis, including road data conditioning, to fully address the requirements of the new Gas Mega Rule effective July 1, 2020.”

Key benefits of the Gas HCA Tool include a significant increase in efficiency and accuracy by reducing manual effort and processing cycle times, while providing extremely granular consequence results for enhanced integrity risk assessments.