The United States of America is critically dependent on natural gas and petroleum liquids transported through pipelines. The infrastructure that currently transports these energy resources is aging, with a significant fraction over fifty years old. New pipelines are currently being planned and constructed; however, pipeline operators are planning on continued operation of the vast majority of existing pipeline mileage. Assuring the long-term integrity and security of these existing pipelines is essential. Recognizing these facts, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) designed a continuing process to emphasize the importance of continuing pipeline-related Research and Development (R&D). DOT PHMSA PHP Research Announcement #DTPH5615RA00001 was issued as part of that overall effort. Battelle entered into a Transaction Agreement, #DTPH5615T00010, “Human Centric Approach to Improve Pipeline Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) Performance and Reliability” to apply a phased approach to first identify major human performance shaping factors of NDE measurements and then to identify high-impact human and technology interventions to reduce identified negative influences on performance. The primary objective of this first phase effort was to extract information from designated NDE pipeline inspector accomplished performers (APs) through coordinated in-depth interviews. The secondary objective was to provide a preliminary set of recommendations for the integration of the results into one or more performance-enhancing interventions such as new training, personnel screening, motivational incentives, and/or technology enhancements, with the ultimate goal of bringing inspector novices or “non-experts” up to speed more rapidly. Phases 2 and 3 of this project will address the high impact positive and negative influences through implementing and evaluating human (Phase 2) and technological (Phase 3) interventions that were selected to improve inspection performance across the work population.
Positive influences suggested that APs are team oriented and value clear, concise, and accurate communication with respect to the conditions they are likely to encounter when they arrive at a job site; commonly mentioned positive influences included good team chemistry, positive feedback, management involvement, and good communication. Negative influences included workload, time pressures, and poor communication. A high-level list of proposed interventions (tied to the top four performance shaping factor categories) for consideration is in the list below. Additional details are provided in Section 6 of this report. • Organizational Interventions § Implement or improve employee recognition programs § Evaluate and implement improved merit-based compensation § Improve Client – Inspector communication • Operational Interventions § Create a forum for inspectors to share “lessons learned” § Better utilize down time between jobs § Expanded training • Work Task Interventions § Promote a better work life balance • Technological Interventions Human Centric Approach to Improve Pipeline Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) Performance and Reliability v § Provide for adequate equipment upgrades This list is not exhaustive and other interventions will be identified for potential subsequent development and evaluation in Phases 2 and 3 of this project.
A high-level list of proposed interventions:
• Organizational Interventions – Implement or improve employee recognition programs – Evaluate and implement improved merit-based compensation – Improve Client – Inspector communication
Operational Interventions – Create a forum for inspectors to share “lessons learned” – Better utilize down time between jobs – Expanded training
Work Task Interventions – Promote a better work life balance
Technological Interventions – Human Centric Approach to Improve Pipeline Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE) Performance and Reliability – Provide for adequate equipment upgrades
This list is not exhaustive and other interventions will be identified for potential subsequent development
Joe Knows Energy has developed solutions that address many of these recommendations.
1. Access Potential of all inspectors– One of the primary solution is to have inspectors take a 3- part assessment. The results, are compared to AP assessments. By recognizing how a AP thinks, what they value, how they behave, we recognize AP’s.
2. Benchmarking AP’s – 7 values and 80 attributes, are evaluated, with common high scores, for the AP’s recorded. This is turn is used to recognize them. This leads to knowing who to focus on and what strategies to utilize their potential.
3. Feedback visible– Making AP’s performance visible to all, including individuals, their supervisor, clients. This is important make access easy, accurate and timely. JKE’s solution is a digital platform, fed by Key Performance Indicators (KPI) feedback received from clients who can within a minute, and is instantly updated and viewed.
4. Performance platform– Like looking at the performance of a hotel team, on Travelocity, based on feedback from clients, the AP’s performance can be recorded and viewed in real-time, on your smart phone, by the AP, his supervisor or client. With this information, merit based compensation can be effectively be implemented.
5. Communication platform– The communication platform, including defining work flow, creating a common language to enhance communication and improvement efforts.
Looking at the second recommendation, operational interventions, formalizing lessons learned, utilizing downtime more effectively and expanded training.