In This Issue

Operator Qualification Programs – Direct final rule

The Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) has issued a Direct Final Rule concerning new Operator Qualification program requirements for personnel training, notice of program changes, government review and verification of programs, and use of on-the-job performance as a qualification method. This Direct Final Rule goes into effect July 1, 2005, if OPS does not receive any adverse comment or notice of intent to file an adverse comment by May 2, 2005. The affected rule sections are given below, with the modifications shown in underscore for new text, and overstrike for deleted text. The rule revisions are identical for both the gas and liquid pipeline regulations.

§192.805 Qualification program. (§195.505 in liquid rules)

Each operator shall have and follow a written qualification program. The program shall include provisions to:

  1. Identify covered tasks;
  2. Ensure through evaluation that individuals performing covered tasks are qualified;
  3. Allow individuals that are not qualified pursuant to this subpart to perform a covered task if directed and observed by an individual that is qualified;
  4. Evaluate an individual if the operator has reason to believe that the individual’s performance of a covered task contributed to an incident as defined in Part 191;
  5. Evaluate an individual if the operator has reason to believe that the individual is no longer qualified to perform a covered task;
  6. Communicate changes that affect covered tasks to individuals performing those covered tasks; and
  7. Identify those covered tasks and the intervals at which evaluation of the individual’s qualifications is needed.;
  8. After December 16, 2004, provide training, as appropriate, to ensure that individuals performing covered tasks have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform the tasks in a manner that ensures the safe operation of pipeline facilities; and
  9. After December 16, 2004, notify the Administrator or a state agency participating under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 601 if the operator significantly modifies the program after the Administrator or state agency has verified that it complies with this section.

§192.809 General. (§195.509 in the liquid rules)

  1. Operators must have a written qualification program by April 27, 2001. The program must be available for review by the Administrator or by a state agency participating under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 601 if the program is under the authority of that state agency.
  2. Operators must complete the qualification of individuals performing covered tasks by October 28, 2002.
  3. Work performance history review may be used as a sole evaluation method for individuals who were performing a covered task prior to October 26, 1999.
  4. After October 28, 2002, work performance history may not be used as a sole evaluation method.
  5. After December 16, 2004, observation of on-the-job performance may not be used as the sole method of evaluation.