Understanding PHMSA’s 9 OQ Inspection Protocols

Understanding PHMSA’s 9 OQ Inspection Protocols

Over the next few newsletters, we will uncover information about the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) Operator Qualification (OQ) Rule. We will also breakdown the nine protocols associated with PHSMA Inspection Form 14 to help you gain a better understanding of the inspection process.

Before going too much further, we must take a look at why the need for OQ. This will give better insight into the why and what behind the nine protocols.

It all began nearly 15 years ago when the final OQ Rule went into effect in October of 1999. The OQ Rule was set up to apply safeguards around the public and industry in regards to the operation and maintenance activities on natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines. PHMSA is the primary federal regulatory agency responsible for ensuring pipeline safety and reliability.

Rules governing pipeline safety are included in Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 190-199. The requirements of the OQ Rule are incorporated into 49 CFR 192 (natural gas) and 195 (hazardous liquids) with the intention being to:

  1. Ensure a qualified workforce, and
  2. Reduce the probability and consequence of incidents caused by human error

The PHSMA OQ Inspection Form 14 is one of the primary forms used to ensure that Operators are following the prescriptive requirements of the OQ Rule. Inspection Form 14 is organized around Nine (9) Elements or Protocols. In following newsletter editions, we will begin to cover these elements and how each one affects pipeline operators and contractors.

Stay tuned as we begin the overview of the nine protocols in the next edition of The Report. For additional information, visit PHSMA.dot.gov.

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