API Enhances Community Safety with Updated Standard on Pipeline Public Awareness Programs
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WASHINGTON, August 11, 2022 – The American Petroleum Institute (API) today published an updated standard on pipeline operators’ public awareness programs to enhance community awareness of nearby pipelines and safety.
“Public awareness programs are a critical tool for pipeline safety and community engagement, helping to raise awareness of pipelines and associated facilities to help keep communities safe,” API Senior Vice President of Global Industry Services Anchal Liddar said. “This standard underscores the industry’s commitment to improving the safety of pipelines as well as those who live and work along pipeline rights-of-way.”
Recommended Practice (RP) 1162, Public Awareness Programs for Pipeline Operators, 3rd edition, provides updated guidance on the management of public awareness programs for the operators of transmission, distribution and gathering pipelines as well as underground storage systems.
Since the first edition of RP 1162 was published in 2003, pipeline operators have expanded public awareness programs, having gone through multiple cycles of program evaluations from periodic audits conducted by federal and state regulators. This latest edition of RP 1162 builds on lessons learned to clarify definitions and create alignment among various key stakeholders. Updated language requires operators to notify stakeholders when new hazards are introduced and allows multiple operators to coordinate their awareness programs for common products, hazards or messages through cooperative programs. As part of the industry’s drive to embrace technology and innovation, the third edition allows flexibility for technologies not incorporated in previous editions, including social media, mobile apps and text messaging.
The third edition of RP 1162 aligns public awareness program frameworks with a Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle of continuous improvement, as introduced in RP 1173, Pipeline Safety Management Systems. RP 1162 brings the benefit of safety management systems to pipeline operators and is one mechanism pipeline operators use to communicate with external stakeholders along their rights-of-way regarding risk identification and management.
State and federal regulations require pipeline operators to develop and implement public awareness programs for key stakeholders, including the local community, public officials, first responders and excavation specialists. The first edition of RP 1162 was incorporated by reference into federal regulations by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) in 2005 and numerous state laws.
API represents all segments of America’s natural gas and oil industry, which supports more than 11 million U.S. jobs and is backed by a growing grassroots movement of millions of Americans. Our approximately 600 members produce, process and distribute the majority of the nation’s energy, and participate in API Energy Excellence®, which is accelerating environmental and safety progress by fostering new technologies and transparent reporting. API was formed in 1919 as a standards-setting organization and has developed more than 800 standards to enhance operational and environmental safety, efficiency and sustainability.