abnormal situation management

Abnormal Situation Management

Safety is a win-win situation

Control room operators everywhere know that the essence of abnormal situation management is proper information exchange.

Good control room design puts an emphasis on the operator having the right information at the right time, to enable the de-escalation of the abnormal situation in as short a window of time as humanly possible, and it all depends on your operators being able to assimilate information quickly and effectively. This central concept lies at the heart of all BAW Architecture control rooms, and all design decisions emanate from it like concentric rings from a stone thrown into a pond.

BAW puts abnormal situation management in control room design upfront and center by employing metrics to ensure that your control room benefits from industry-leading knowledge of abnormal situation mitigation.

BAW has been employing abnormal situation management best practices in control rooms for 30 years. Our portfolio includes over 100 new-build or renovation projects around the globe, for firms such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, Fluor, and Honeywell. Our safety record is unrivaled.

Abnormal Situation Prevention

The optimal place to be is to prevent abnormal situations in the first place, where the operator can predict and adjust process variables before they culminate in an abnormal situation with multiple alarms sounding and systems shutting down.

This is dependent on providing the right information in the right place at the right time through the control system interface and the person to person interactions. This is the principle behind effective design for abnormal situation prevention.

It includes consideration of the control system and equipment, as well as its arrangement and the optimal placement and orientation of control consoles. This is crucial to ensure that a steady state does not escalate into abnormal situation.

It sounds simple enough, but the data shows that there are far-reaching implications to poor control system and control room design. The wrong design can lead to an abnormal situation escalation, which can cost money—and potentially lives.

Abnormal Situation Management: De-escalation & Emergency Response

If an abnormal situation is not effectively brought under control, there is potential for the control room or an alternative space to need to become the nerve center of incident command. First the alarms sound, and the switch from the abnormal situation to an emergency becomes the reality. It’s at this point that the next level of BAW’s abnormal situation management kicks in. The continuum may include some or all of the following:

  • Diagnosis of the problem. Where is it originating? What is the nature of the deviation?
  • Action to prevent escalation and bring the situation under control. Shut the plan down, re-direct the flow, stop an overflow, for example
  • Site-wide alarm, tells everyone to get to a safe place
  • Situation assessment. Fight the fire/explosion or perform rescue operation?
  • Determine if an evacuation is needed
  • Determine whether additional support from civilian authorities is needed

The incident command room, which may be the control room must support the incident command team to perform quickly, effectively, and without error.

Volumes have been written on how to implement best practices in abnormal situation management, and BAW has been a member of the ASM® Consortium for more than a decade. Whether you are in the oil, gas, mining, transportation or chemical industry, this critical decision just might be the best you ever make.

Learn more about why BAW Architecture is the leader in 24/7 mission-critical control building design, or contact us to start a conversation.

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