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API Recommended Practice 1162: Public Awareness Programs for Pipeline Operators Finalized

API RP 1162 Finalized (from API’s website):

The American Petroleum Institute has issued new guidance to U.S. pipeline operators to improve public awareness of pipelines. The purpose of the guidelines, known as Recommended Practice 1162 or Public Awareness Programs for Pipeline Operators, is to reduce pipeline accidents, which are often attributable to digging by homeowners, contractors, and farmers.

Pipeline companies have long conducted public awareness programs, but the federal Pipeline Safety Improvement Act of 2002 established new standards. RP 1162 is designed to help companies meet them.

In preparing RP 1162, API collaborated with federal and state regulators and representatives of natural gas and liquid transmission companies and local distribution companies.

Although pipelines are the safest and most economical way to distribute oil and gas, the oil and natural gas industry recognizes that development of open areas means more homes and businesses are close to pipelines. It believes that everyone living or working near pipelines should understand how they work, why they are important, how problems can be avoided, and what to do in the unlikely event something goes wrong.

RP 1162 identifies audiences to be contacted, effective messages and communications methods, and information for evaluating and updating public awareness programs. Potential audiences for a program meeting RP 1162 standards include public officials and local and state emergency response agencies as well as the public and commercial and agricultural excavators. RP 1162 applies to operators of both liquid and gas pipelines.

After reviewing RP 1162, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, an independent agency that investigates transportation accidents, including pipeline accidents, concluded the new guidelines met its recommendations for improved public awareness programs.

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