The audit was performed in Marathon’s offices at Hinna in Stavanger.
The audit was particularly focused on auditing Marathon’s work to safeguard good screen image design and verifying alarm system functionality and alarm presentation on Alvheim FPSO in relation to relevant regulatory requirements and recognised standards.
Favourable HMI conditions (human-machine interaction) can reduce the probability of human error in the control room.
The audit was performed through presentations, interviews with project personnel and review of relevant governing documents.
Furthermore, we received a presentation of screen image design on the Alvheim FPSO training simulator and a review of Marathon’s simulator training plans.
Marathon facilitated the audit well and the involved parties contributed in an open and positive manner.
The background for the audit is the PSA’s 2010 prioritisation relating to follow-up of technical and operational barriers to prevent the occurrence and development of major accidents.
In this context, the regulations require there to be systems and procedures for mapping barrier functionality, including routines for regular verification of barrier performance (barrier soundness) to ensure that the barriers are functional and effective at all times.
The manner in which process information and alarms are presented, together with the control room operator’s surveillance and management of the facility through the operator interface, constitute significant barriers for preventing and limiting dangers and incidents. The follow-up of HMI conditions will therefore be an important element in ensuring that the aforementioned barriers function effectively and as intended at all times.
The audit focused on following up Marathon’s work on correcting the non-conformity in relation to Section 20 of the Facilities Regulations relating to man-machine interface and information presentation.
This non-conformity, which was identified by the PSA in 2007, pointed out deficiencies connected to information presentation in screen images and graphical user interfaces in the control room on Alvheim FPSO.
Marathon has received, following application, an exemption deadline of 1 April 2010 to correct the non-conformities.
Furthermore, Marathon itself has identified weaknesses in the human-machine interface and information presentation in the control room on Alvheim FPSO in connection with reviewing the flare incidents in 2009.
The regulatory basis for the audit includes Sections 1 and 2 of the Management Regulations relating to risk reduction and barriers, respectively, and Section 20 of the Facilities Regulations relating to man-machine interface and information presentation.
The purpose of the audit was to have Marathon’s work toward meeting regulatory requirements in this area presented and demonstrated, in addition to following up measures following the two flare incidents on Alvheim FPSO in January 2009.
The audit had four main themes:
Marathon has, in cooperation with the involved players (Maersk, Apply Sørco, Human Factors Solutions, Kongsberg and Petrolink), performed an extensive improvement project in connection with HMI, alarm and information presentation in the control room on Alvheim FPSO.
Our impression is that the project work has been closely followed up by Marathon management and the company seems to have actively taken the necessary resource actions to meet the project’s goals of favourable HMI conditions in the control room on Alvheim FPSO.
We find that the performed project work is based on regulatory requirements and recognised standards for HMI, screen image design and alarm presentation.
According to “HMI Verification & Validation (V&V) Report” carried out by Human Factors Solutions, a few circumstances have been identified which warrant modification work beyond the non-conformity deadline of 1 April 2010. These are conditions which Marathon will address and follow up.
The project execution has been much more extensive than initially anticipated. Substantial work remains before the non-conformity is corrected.
During the audit, one non-conformity was identified in relation to regulatory requirements for barrier follow-up and one improvement item relating to employee participation.
Marathon provided a briefing on the status of actions following the flare incidents in 2009. We have no comments regarding the presented material.
Barrier management: Adequate performance requirements and routines for regular measurements of HMI quality in the control room had not been established.
Planning and management of employee participation in the project: Deficient planning and management of employee participation in the improvement project.
Marathon has, in cooperation with the involved players, conducted extensive improvement work in connection with HMI, alarm and information presentation in the operator stations in the control room on Alvheim FPSO. As the project moved forward, the work turned out to be much more extensive than previously anticipated. This has caused the project to draw out and involve much more personnel resources than originally planned. Work is still outstanding for correcting the non-conformity.
The development of an alarm philosophy document and a document describing overall principles and guidelines relating to developing HMI conditions in operator stations in the control room have been key parts of the project execution. These two documents have contributed to securing a uniform HMI and screen image design across the different systems in the control room. The documents will be important for continuing the same HMI principles in the further life of the facility.
Inger Anda, Director for communication and public affairs
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