In This Issue

ASME B31Q Industry Teleconference Recap (July 2, 2004)

On July 2, 2004, various members of the ASME B31Q committee provided brief updates on the status and future of the upcoming Operator Qualification regulatory changes. The committee has not finalized anything yet, so take these notes with a large grain of salt because things could change (although not expected).

  1. The committee plans to have a final draft available for ballot review by November 2004, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking completed by Spring �05, and publish a Final Rule by the Spring of 2006. Operators are expected to be granted at least 1 year after issuance of the Final Rule to fully implement the changes.
  2. The scope of the revised rulemaking is intended to affect activities affecting safety and integrity; design tasks and off-pipeline activities (such as sending components for repair) are not expected to be included.
  3. The standard is not expected to prescribe acceptable ratios for qualified individuals who can supervise unqualified individuals performing covered tasks.
  4. A Covered Task List (�Applicable Tasks�) is being designed by one of the sub-committees which will allow operators to choose between this pre-defined list or utilize an Alternative Technical Basis for defining Covered Tasks specific to the operator. Operators will now have a Two-Part Test to identify Covered Tasks: Does the Task affect Safety and/or Integrity? Is the Task performed by the Operator, Contractor, or other construction-related activities on the pipeline?
  5. Training Requirements are expected to include:
    1. a process for evaluating whether training is needed for a covered task
    2. a process for evaluating the content and quality of training materials and providers
    3. a process for evaluating initial qualification versus re-qualification techniques and intervals
  6. One significant change from current requirements will be requirements for operators to manage changes and evaluate the effectiveness of their operator qualification program. This will involve documenting changes related to covered tasks, communicating with stakeholders, and assessing Evaluator credentials.
  7. The idea of �Portability� for contractors who perform Covered Tasks for several different pipeline operators has received a lot of attention recently.  A new committee has been working on providing a standardized means of qualifications that can be widely accepted across the industry.  There is discussion about the possibility of an independent third party that has oversight of the effectiveness and quality of portability providers.