CWJJ Cindy Mitchell Southern Gas Association
CWJJ Episode 82: Cindy Mitchell
October 21, 2021

What is ASME B31Q?

What is ASME B31Q

Pipelines offer a comparatively safe way to transport fuels and chemicals. They’re less vulnerable to damage than tanker trucks or trains. Nevertheless, pipe leaks and ruptures have caused serious harm to surrounding communities, infrastructure, and the environment. These costly accidents frequently occur as a result of mistakes made by industry personnel, according to the American National Standards Institute. Businesses can avoid such errors by prioritizing safety and ensuring that their employees receive all of the necessary training. The ASME B31Q standard provides helpful guidance.

The Basics of ASME B31Q

In 2006, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers introduced B31Q. This highly respected nonprofit organization has existed for over a century. It generally updates the standard every two to four years, according to GlobalSpec. Pipeline operators, contractors, and inspectors can benefit from following ASME B31Q. The guidelines pertain to pipes carrying gases or fluids. However, they don’t cover the initial design of new lines. Companies that apply B31Q may need to make significant changes to their hiring, training, management, and operating procedures.

What It Covers

The standard helps businesses set minimum qualifications for workers who carry out safety-related tasks. It confirms that staff members have adequate education, training, and experience to perform this work. Job requirements hold little meaning when a supervisor doesn’t know if a specific employee needs to meet them. Consequently, ASME B31Q precisely identifies the tasks that affect pipeline safety and call for special qualifications. This guidance makes it easier to determine when new or existing personnel need further training to perform their jobs competently. The ASME used best practices and technical data from the pipeline industry to develop its recommendations.

Relevant Tasks

This standard offers qualification guidance for a wide range of jobs that range from line repairs to pressure testing and inspections. It lists each safety-oriented task under one of 12 major categories. For instance, the “Meter Sets” section includes customer meter installation, temporary line isolation, service valve maintenance, and disconnections. Categories like “Pipe Installation” and “Pipeline Tapping” contain much longer task lists. All of these objectives have the potential to prevent or trigger dangerous accidents, so employees must meet certain training requirements before they perform the work. Less-skilled personnel may complete tasks that don’t appear on these lists (unless a different standard covers them).

Evaluating Risks

The Fault Tree Task Identification Process is an important safety method prescribed by ASME B31Q. Pipeline staff can benefit from learning this technique when they undergo training and remembering to incorporate it into daily routines. It helps them recognize possible dangers and take action to prevent accidents or reduce harmful consequences. The method involves analyzing nine major causes of failure. They include pipe defects, natural disasters, operator error, and three types of corrosion. In some situations, leakage occurs due to the combined effects of multiple problems.

This method often enables workers to detect the underlying cause of a pipeline rupture rather than simply identifying the event that triggered it. For example, operators shouldn’t solely blame severe weather for damaging a mismanufactured or heavily corroded line. A thorough understanding of this concept can help pipeline personnel anticipate adverse events and take appropriate safety precautions. Workers frequently succeed in reducing negative impacts when they take the time to fully assess all potential risks using the Fault Tree Task Identification Process.

Why ASME B31Q Matters

Although it takes money and effort to consistently implement a complex standard, companies can easily find many compelling reasons to follow B31Q. It often enhances compliance with government regulations, according to ASME. More importantly, the guidelines prevent accidents that could result in loss of life, severe injuries, and lasting environmental harm. They can also protect businesses from the financial burdens associated with ruptured pipes. A serious incident may trigger legal action, fines, repair expenses, and higher insurance premiums while reducing normal operating income. It could also lead to negative publicity for specific firms and possibly the entire industry. These repercussions may prompt the government to enforce stricter regulations for years to come. To sum it up, companies use ASME B31Q to ensure that well-qualified staff members perform all safety-related tasks. An employer can refer to the standard to see if a worker needs to meet certain job requirements before sealing pipe joints or performing ultrasonic testing. It offers the specialized guidance needed to provide each employee with the optimal amount of training. The standard also recommends useful safety assessment practices. If your business needs help implementing the latest version of ASME B31Q, please contact Energy Worldnet to learn about our superior training services and expertise.

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