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Industry Evolution: OQ NPRM Management of Change & Recordkeeping

As PHMSA continues to promote the adoption of safety and quality management systems in the industry, the use of effective management of change (MOC) processes become even more critical for all companies. These efforts can assist regulated operators to ensure that changes made to operation and maintenance activities, company policies, the equipment operations, and safety procedures are appropriately captured in the necessary portions of an OQ program and communicated efficiently to affected personnel.

In this edition of the EWN Educational Series on the Industry Evolution, EWN reviews the proposed addition of regulations in the Qualification Program sections of 49 CFR 192.805(b)(7) and 195.505(b)(7) requiring operators to establish and maintain and Management of Change Program. The following information summarizes PHMSA’s proposed regulatory changes, guidance provided to PHMSA by the Pipeline Advisory Committees (PACs), and comments regarding the impact of these proposed changes on the industry.


As proposed in the NPRM, companies will be required to establish and maintain a Management of Change program to communicate any changes to a covered task to anyone performing the task. PHMSA’s intent with the addition of the new requirement is to ensure personnel are aware of changes and take appropriate action, and that weaknesses of a program are identified and corrections are made with notification to those affected. In order to comply with this requirement, companies will need to establish a written program on how they handle changes, including the notification to appropriate stakeholders of the changes. As a result of other program and recordkeeping requirements, complete records must be maintained to provide an audit trail for inspections and for use in the new Program Effectiveness Review requirements.

PHMSAΓÇÖs proposed regulation regarding management of change reads as follows:

49 CFR 192.805(b)(7) and 195.505(b)(7) – Qualification Program

Establish and maintain a Management of Change program that will communicate changes that affect covered tasks to individuals performing those covered tasks;

As part of the expectations for new Management of Change programs, companies will be required to notify personnel of change related requirements and the actions to be taken. These notifications may vary based on the significance and nature of the change, for example:

  • Notification for general changes may require communication with a required acknowledgment of awareness.
  • The addition of new covered tasks, such as new construction activities, may require the notification and verified completion of new training and/or testing and/or evaluation requirements.
  • Significant changes to procedures and specifications impacting the performance of a covered task may require notification and verified completion of supplemental training and/or testing and/or evaluation requirements.

In all cases, companies should be able to confirm that personnel are aware of the change and have taken the required action within the time period specified.

The importance of records associated with the Management of Change is directly linked to the proposed requirements for Program Effectiveness Reviews. As part PHMSA’s 13 mandatory measurements standards for Program Effectiveness, companies must consider the number of occurrences caused by any individual whose performance of a covered task(s) adversely affected the safety or integrity of the pipeline due to any of the following deficiencies:

(iv) Change made to a covered task or the KSAs was not adequately evaluated for necessary changes to training or evaluation;

(v) Change to a covered task(s) or the KSAs was not adequately communicated;

This requirement will be covered in greater detail in the July 21st edition of this EWN Educational Series.

Recommendation from Joint Session of GPAC and LPAC:

The PHMSA proposed rule changes were unanimously accepted during the joint GPAC and LPAC session on June 2, 2016, without changes.


The pending OQ NPRM expands the requirements for companies to maintain records that demonstrate their compliance with the overall regulation, and in particular, records related to individual qualifications and the operator’s OQ program.

Under the proposed NPRM, Qualification Program requirements in 192.805 & 195.505 are being revised and expanded. Recordkeeping requirements move from sections 192.807 & 195.507 to 192.809 & 195.509, and Program Effectiveness is added to 192.807 and 192.507.

Individual Qualification records, as outlined in the NPRM, include records for task identification, training required to support qualifications, qualification methods, the name of evaluator and date of evaluation.  Items 1 through 4, as listed herein, are currently included in the existing OQ Rule. Item numbers 5 through 7 are new, proposed requirements.

49 CFR 192.809 and 195.509 – Recordkeeping

Each operator must maintain records that demonstrate compliance with this subpart.

(a) Individual qualification records.

Individual qualification records must include at a minimum:

(1) Identification of qualified individual(s),

(2) Identification of the covered tasks the individual is qualified to perform;

(3) Date(s) of current qualification;

(4) Qualification method(s);

(5) Evaluation to recognize and react to an abnormal operating condition, whether it is task-specific or non-task specific, which occurs anywhere on the system;

(6) Name of evaluator and date of evaluation; and

(7) Training required to support an individual’s qualification or requalification.

Program records, as outlined in the NPRM, include minimum standards for records for program effectiveness reviews, program changes, management of change notifications, and selection criteria and training for evaluators, etc. These new and clarified program requirements are listed in 192.809(b) and 195.509(b)

49 CFR 192.809 and 195.509 – Recordkeeping

Each operator must maintain records that demonstrate compliance with this subpart.

(a) Operators must have a written qualification program

(b) Program records. Program records must include, at a minimum, the following:

(1) Program effectiveness reviews;

(2) Program changes;

(3) List of program abnormal operating conditions;

(4) Program management of change notifications;

(5) Covered task list to include all task-specific and non-task specific covered tasks;

(6) Span of control ratios for each covered task:

(7) Reevaluation intervals for each covered task;

(8) Evaluations method(s) for each covered task; and

(9) Criteria and training for evaluators.

(c) Retention period

(1) Individual qualification records. An operator must maintain records of qualified individuals who performed covered tasks. Records supporting an individual’s current qualification must be retained while the individual is performing the covered task. Records of prior qualification and records of individuals no longer performing covered tasks must be retained for a period of five years.

(2) Program records. An operator must maintain records as required in paragraph (b) of this section for a period of five years.

It should be noted that proposed changes under the separate Gas Transmission NPRM (Docket No. PHMSA-2011-0023) could extend the OQ record keeping requirements for transmission pipeline operators on some welding and plastic pipe joining activities for the life of the asset.  The comment period for PHMSA-2011-0023 ended on July 7, 2016.


Recommendation from Joint Session of GPAC and LPAC:

The PHMSA proposed rule changes were unanimously accepted during the joint GPAC and LPAC session on June 2, 2016, without changes.


As with other areas of the regulations, PHMSA is increasing its requirements for all manner of “tracking and traceability”. While that term is typically associated with integrity management issues, it effectively applies to the Operator Qualification program requirements as a whole. PHMSA’s open support of API RP 1173 for Pipeline Safety Management Systems, the proposed Program Effectiveness Review requirements, and the expanded Recordkeeping requirements reviewed here clearly demonstrate PHMSA’s expectations that companies have program in place to ensure program and safety compliance, identify gaps and weaknesses in those programs and processes, effect changes in a documented and efficient manner, and measure progress and improvement in their programs.


Special Note

Although timing for the issuance of Final Rules on these regulatory updates is unknown, it is anticipated that PHMSA will issue a Final Rules on these topics later this year. One factor that may influence the timing is the recent enactment of the PIPES Act of 2016, which includes an emphasis for PHMSA to accelerate the numerous rulemakings outstanding from the 2011 pipeline safety bill. Under the new PIPES Act, PHMSA is required to provide a report to Congress before the end of October 2016 on the status of statutory directives, including the status of each mandate, reasons for its incompletion, and estimated completion date. The Congressional reporting requirement is anticipated to create some urgency for PHMSA to complete several pending NPRMs, which would include the OQ rule updates.

It’s important to remember that PHMSA is required by law to hold advisory committee meetings with the GPAC and LPAC groups. PHMSA is not bound by the recommendations that are agreed to by the PACs, but will consider those recommendations as they develop a Final Rule.



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