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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

A Key Tool to Drive Improvements in Safety and Pipeline Safety Performance: Pipeline SMS Third-Party Assessments are designed to facilitate Pipeline SMS implementation and share real-time benchmarking information to drive improvements in safety and pipeline safety performance for every operator's level of PSMS maturity.  The assessments also provide the pipeline industry with an objective, and consistent third-party option to validate their PSMS systems and address the conformity auditing (API RP 1173, Section 10.2.2) and performance, effectiveness, implementation, and maturity evaluation (API RP 1173, Section 10.2.3 to 10.2.5) requirements of the recommended practice. Pipeline SMS Third-Party Assessments identifies opportunities for improvement in PSMS implementation and pipeline safety performance industry wide - breaking through PSMS barriers and challenges. This leads to additional learning from sharing experiences and industry practices and serves as a feedback mechanism for an analysis of industry performance to help identify trends and patterns.


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.

Download program brochure and see Pipeline SMS Assessment Program prices.


The Pipeline SMS Third Party Assessment is intended to: 

  • Assist operators in evaluating the conformance, effectiveness, proactiveness, and maturity of existing Pipeline SMS (PSMS). 
  • Identify opportunities for improvement in PSMS implementation and pipeline safety performance industry wide. 
  • Promote learning from sharing experiences and industry practices. 
  • Provide opportunities for real-time benchmarking with the consistent use of industry-developed protocols and tools. 
  • Serve as a feedback mechanism for an analysis of industry performance to help identify trends and patterns. 
  • Encourage safety collaboration among participating sites and industry experts. 
  • Provide operators with a consistent and standardized, third-party approach to address the auditing requirements of API RP 1173. 
  • Fulfill Section 10.2.2 audit requirements and the maturity evaluation and benchmarking requirements of Section 10.2.5. 


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 PipelineSMS@api.org.

During a Pipeline SMS (PSMS) assessment, a team of independent, third-party safety management system experts, or 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.

Value: Industry program with industry oversight and direction​​

  • Inform and educate Operators regarding notable practices​​
  • Identify practices that would be relevant for the operator to share with their peers.​​
  • Inform the PSMS Industry Team efforts to provide pipeline safety management system awareness and education through industry events and workshops​​

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Benchmarking: Maturity evaluation level summaries, across the RP 1173 expectations and elements​​

  • A Consistent Assessment Process Using Standardized Requirements, Guidance Text, References And Mappings To Relevant Regulations And Standards​​
  • Real-time Benchmarking (aggregated and blinded): Gauge Maturity/Performance Against Industry and other Operators - With Dash Boards​​

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 can 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 assessors 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  is designed to evaluate an operator’s progress in the conformance, implementation, effectiveness, proactiveness and maturity of their PSMS.


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 PipelineSMS@api.org.

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 pipeline safety management system 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 pipeline safety experience in the 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 PipelineSMS@api.org.