As part of the industry’s ongoing commitment to continuous pipeline safety improvements, API, in collaboration with industry partners, has developed a Pipeline SMS Assessment Program. This program will primarily involve the assessment of an operator’s pipeline SMS by independent, credible, third party teams of industry-qualified pipeline and safety management system expert assessors.

Pipeline SMS assessments contribute to a culture of safety and continuous improvement across the pipeline industry. The Pipeline SMS Assessment Program helps demonstrate the industry’s proactive commitment to API RP 1173 and implementation of safety management systems. Through the use of industry developed protocols, the process safety site assessments will evaluate both the conformity of processes, programs and systems, and the effectiveness of implementation.

Assessment Process
During a Pipeline SMS assessment, a team of independent, third-party safety management system experts (“assessors”) spend about a week at an operator’s site, working with employees and leadership (across operations and in the field) to fully understand the current pipeline safety processes, programs and systems.

The assessment is designed to address all 10 Pipeline SMS elements listed in RP 1173, which are designed to address key areas of pipeline safety processes and procedures throughout a pipeline’s life cycle. The following is the list of the pipeline safety areas that will be evaluated:

  • Leadership and Management Commitment (Section 5 of RP 1173);
  • Stakeholder Engagement (Section 6);
  • Risk Management (Section 7);
  • Operational Controls (Section 8);
  • Incident Investigation, Evaluation, and Lessons Learned (Section 9);
  • Safety Assurance (Section 10);
  • Management Review and Continuous Improvement (Section 11);
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response (Section 12);
  • Competence, Awareness, and Training (Section 13);
  • Documentation and Record Keeping (Section 14).

The assessment will use the Pipeline SMS Maturity Model with levels 1 through 5 to evaluate an operator’s Pipeline SMS maturity in each of the elements. The Pipeline SMS Assessment Tool is designed to evaluate an operator’s progress in the implementation of their Pipeline SMS. Each of the assessment tool questions, identified as RP 1173 element expectations, encourages going beyond the basics to assess conformity to RP 1173, maturity, and effectiveness to help identify opportunities to improve the pipeline SMS and safety performance.

Learn additional information about the third party assessment program here.