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Pipeline Safety Management System (SMS) Assessments

Pipeline SMS

As part of the industry’s ongoing commitment to continuous pipeline safety improvements, API, in collaboration with industry partners, has developed a Pipeline SMS Assessment Program. This program will primarily involve the assessment of an operator’s pipeline SMS by independent, credible, third party teams of industry-qualified pipeline and safety management system expert assessors.

Pipeline SMS Assessment Program

Pipeline SMS assessments contribute to a culture of safety and continuous improvement across the pipeline industry. The Pipeline SMS Assessment Program helps demonstrate the industry’s proactive commitment to API RP 1173 and implementation of safety management systems. Through the use of industry developed protocols, the process safety site assessments will evaluate both the conformity of processes, programs and systems, and the effectiveness of implementation.

Assessment Process

During a Pipeline SMS assessment, a team of independent, third-party safety management system experts (“assessors”) spend about a week at an operator’s site, working with employees and leadership (across operations and in the field) to fully understand the current pipeline safety processes, programs and systems.

The assessment is designed to address all 10 PSMS elements listed in RP 1173, which are designed to address key areas of pipeline safety processes and procedures throughout a pipeline’s life cycle. The following is the list of the pipeline safety areas that will be evaluated:

  1. Leadership and Management Commitment (Section 5 of RP 1173);
  2. Stakeholder Engagement (Section 6);
  3. Risk Management (Section 7);
  4. Operational Controls (Section 8);
  5. Incident Investigation, Evaluation, and Lessons Learned (Section 9);
  6. Safety Assurance (Section 10);
  7. Management Review and Continuous Improvement (Section 11);
  8. Emergency Preparedness and Response (Section 12);
  9. Competence, Awareness, and Training (Section 13);
  10. Documentation and Record Keeping (Section 14).

The assessment will use the PSMS Maturity Model with levels 1 through 5 to evaluate an operator’s PSMS maturity in each of the elements. The Pipeline SMS Assessment Tool is designed to evaluate an operator’s progress in the implementation of their PSMS. Each of the assessment tool questions, identified as RP 1173 element expectations, encourages going beyond the basics to assess conformity to RP 1173, maturity, and effectiveness to help identify opportunities to improve the pipeline SMS and safety performance.

The Pipeline SMS Assessment Program will be implemented and managed by the API Global Industry Services (GIS) Department.

API GIS does not assume any liability for how the information is implemented and/or used and each site is responsible for ensuring that its own standards, practices, and procedures comply with all applicable requirements and are appropriately suited for the site specific operating environment.

Inquiries regarding having your site assessed as a part of this program can be made to David Toth at

The Quality is in the Team

“You cannot fool these assessors – they have done your job for 20 years”

The assessors who make up our process safety site assessment teams have an invaluable amount of experience, which results in "world class" assessments for your facilities.

Our hand-picked assessors have an average of 20 years process safety experience in the refining and petrochemical industry, and are recognized as leading experts in their respective fields. So, in addition to unparalleled assessments, the mentorship that the assessors bring to your site is priceless.

If you are interested in applying to become a Pipeline SMS Assessor, please contact us at