As an industry responsible for delivering energy throughout the nation, measures need to be taken to ensure all is done to protect communities and the environment with safe pipeline operations. For this reason, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended the industry develop guidance for safety management systems for energy pipeline operations.

Safety management systems (SMS) have proven to help in other industries, such as aviation, nuclear power and chemical manufacturing. Pipeline operators, through the American Petroleum Institute (API) and in partnership with the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), state pipeline regulators, and other interested stakeholders developed API RP 1173 to bring the benefits of SMS to pipeline operations.

API RP 1173 users will gain a better understanding of how to systematically manage pipeline safety, and continuously measure progress to improve overall pipeline safety performance.

Download the fact sheet here.


The core principle, which is the “Plan-Do-Check-Act” cycle, requires operators to determine the steps needing to be taken, complete these, periodically review and if necessary, enact any changes or improvements. Ultimately, this requirement drives the industry towards its zero-incident goal by ensuring that the various components of the safety management system are regularly reviewed and continually evolving.Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle