... New API Pipeline Standard to Increase Worker Safety, Environmental Protections - North American Energy Pipelines

New API Pipeline Standard to Increase Worker Safety, Environmental Protections

The American Petroleum Institute (API) issued a new standard for pipeline inspectors on March 3 to enhance safety and sustainability during pipeline construction.

“The new inspection standard demonstrates the industry’s commitment to building energy infrastructure that is safe and environmentally protective,” Global Industry Services Senior Vice President Debra Phillips said. “Additional emphasis has been placed on building communication and rapport between operators, inspectors and contractors to not only create effective working relationships between the parties, but also drive a culture of safety throughout pipeline construction. The new standard is a key asset to delivering pipeline projects that are safe for the workers that build them and the local communities they serve.”

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The pipeline standard, API Recommended Practice (RP) 1169, Pipeline Construction Inspection, Second Edition, updates the issues that pipeline inspectors should review when overseeing each phase of a pipeline’s construction. While the first edition of RP 1169 concentrated on new pipeline construction, the second edition expands the scope of covered activities to cover all pipeline construction along the right of way, including repairs and excavations of existing lines. The inspector’s role under the updated standard begins during the pre-construction phase of the pipeline project, and extends through the surveying process, construction activities and related work that occurs immediately after construction has been completed. 

The standard’s development process for RP 1169 included representatives from the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), which is the lead safety regulator for pipelines and other interested parties. Their participation demonstrates the openness and transparency of the API standards-setting process, which brings together both industry and the regulatory community to advance the common goal of safety.

API has also initiated the process of updating its inspector program examinations which, through the API Individual Certification Program (ICP), conveys elements of the new standard to industry inspectors. The program currently has over 8,000 certified individuals who conduct API 1169 inspections. For those interested in the API 1169 Pipeline Construction Inspector Certification, the second edition will take effect with the 2021 exams in order to allow pipeline personnel to familiarize themselves with the new standard and its enhancements.  

API standards are developed under API’s American National Standards Institute accredited process, ensuring that the API standards are recognized not only for their technical rigor, but also their third-party accreditation which facilitates acceptance by state, federal and increasingly international regulators. API’s Global Industry Services (GIS) division is responsible for standards setting, certification, training, events, publications and safety programs for industry operations.

API represents all segments of America’s oil and natural gas industry. Its more than 600 members produce, process, and distribute most of the nation’s energy. The industry supports 10.9 million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of millions of Americans. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization. In its first 100 years, API has developed more than 700 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.

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