The consensus process for approval of the ASME B31Q has been completed and ASME published the pipeline operator qualification standard on September 15, 2006. In all, over 100 people worked diligently to retain as much of the existing framework of OQ as was feasible and to develop a technically based standard, recognizing the diverse needs of the industry and regulators. The ASME B31Q Project Team included representatives from federal and state regulatory agencies, contractors, industry associations, labor and three industry sectors hazardous liquid, gas transmission, and local distribution companies. The project team met regularly over a period of twenty months to reach consensus on the content of the standard. Additional resources, including Subject Matter Experts, industry associations and service providers were utilized regularly. A copy of the new standard can be purchased for $185 by clicking here
At this point, it is not clear what the Office of Pipeline Safety plans to do with this standard. OPS published a concept paper and held a public meeting on 12/15/05 that addressed Operator Qualification as it might relate to training, re-evaluation intervals, and new construction activities. Industry submitted their comments soon thereafter, but no formal action has been taken by OPS since.