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New pipeline inspector standard to increase worker safety and sustainability

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The American Petroleum Institute (API) has issued a new standard for pipeline inspectors that is expected to enhance safety and sustainability during pipeline construction.

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.

The revised edition expands the scope of activities to include 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, and extends through the surveying process, construction activities and related work that occurs immediately after construction has been completed.

“The new inspection standard demonstrates the industry’s commitment to building energy infrastructure that is safe and environmentally protective,” commented Debra Phillips, global industry services senior vice-president at API. “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.”

The development process for the new standard included representatives from the US Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which is the lead safety regulator for pipelines and other interested parties. According to a statement from API, the inclusion “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 added that it has started the process of updating its inspector programme examinations, which conveys elements of the new standard to industry inspectors.