PIC March Blog

New Whitepaper: How to Implement PSMS as a Preventive Maintenance Program for Transmission Pipelines

Historically, transmission pipeline operators have focused on preventing and mitigating physical risks and threats to pipeline assets. It’s no secret why. The Preventive and Mitigative (P&M) regulation (49 CFR 192.935 for Gas Transmission Pipeline Integrity Management) primarily focuses on these “on the pipe” risks.

The regulation cites third-party damage, outside force damage, valve failure, pipelines operating below 30% SYMS, and plastic transmission pipelines as primary threats. Nowhere, though, is the risk of organizational failure, which is one of the leading causes of high-profile pipeline incidents over the past 20+ years.

Two incidents in 2010 (the PG&E pipeline rupture in San Bruno, California and the Enbridge disruption in Marshall, Michigan) and the more recent incident in 2018 (Merrimack Valley gas explosions) should serve as reminders that operators need to advance their efforts to root out the risk of organizational failure. 

Fortunately, the Pipeline Safety Management System (PSMS), as defined in API 1173, can be used as an additional P&M effort to reduce the risk of organizational failure and improve safety.

We recently published a new whitepaper, “Pipeline SMS as a P&M Program for Transmission Pipelines,” that presents important information about how to utilize PSMS as an additional preventive maintenance program for transmission operators. We encourage you to download the whitepaper to support your operation.

Contents of Our Whitepaper on Pipeline SMS as a P&M Program

The new whitepaper dives into the concept that operators need to view organizational threats in the same manner as physical threats. This requires having a preventive maintenance program for the organizational threats similar to having preventive maintenance programs for the physical threats.

By implementing Pipeline SMS as a preventive maintenance program, operators can identify and address the common sources of organizational failure. These areas include plans, procedures, processes, resources, scheduling, training, equipment, communications, recordkeeping, performance, and management of change.  

The best way to achieve this objective is by completing the full Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle that is embedded in the Pipeline SMS framework for each of these areas. This can be achieved by utilizing a systematic and documented decision-making process to decide which organizational areas may require corrective action.

Our new whitepaper captures the role of PDCA as the systemic application of quality management principles to help create a quality culture that supports improved safety. By executing the full PDCA cycle, operators can mitigate organizational failure within each aspect of the pipeline life cycle.

  • Plan: Do we have complete, correct, and current plans, processes, and procedures?
  • Do: Do we schedule properly, train effectively, use the right equipment, execute properly, document completely, and communicate effectively?
  • Check: Do we evaluate the effectiveness of our execution? (leading performance indicators of safety). Do we evaluate the effectiveness of the results? (lagging performance indicators of safety).
  • Act: Are we measuring the maturity of our safety systems by performing assessments that determine the success of our corrective actions?

Performing the PDCA cycle is the foundation of an effective PSMS P&M effort. The whitepaper also dives into the supporting aspects of Quality Management, Stakeholder Engagement, Process Management, and Natural Compliance to realize improved safety.

We also provide insights on how to utilize our POEMS® ProgramMgr software tools such as Integrated Compliance Activity Management (ICAM) and Program Stakeholder Engagement Communications (pSEc) to execute PDCA processes as part of PSMS and optimize stakeholder communication to determine if you are seeing the desired safety and operational impacts.

– Right now, you can download the new whitepaper to learn how to implement a preventive maintenance program for transmission pipelines. You’ll learn more about how Pipeline SMS is the ideal P&M program to reduce risk and improve safety through the implementation of PDCA.

After downloading the whitepaper, get in touch with us to discuss how we can support your operation through the implementation of our tools. We look forward to supporting your operation.

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