Safety - Operator Qualification Compliance Program


What is Operator Qualification?

The U.S. Dept. of Transportation (DOT) has put into effect a new Operator Qualification Rule (OQ Rule) for Part 192 (for gas pipelines) and Part 195 (for liquid pipelines). The OQ Rule requires pipeline companies to have a written qualification program to evaluate and document the ability of company employees and contractors to perform covered tasks. The Rule also requires recognizing and responding to Abnormal Operating Conditions that may be encountered while performing these covered tasks. This is a performance-based qualification program.

As of October 28, 2002 the DOT rule for Operator Qualification has come into affect. The DOT has defined a number of pipeline operations tasks as ‘covered tasks’ that require pipeline operators to have qualified personnel performing those tasks. The rule states that the person doing the task must either have documented evidence of qualification or be under the direct supervision of someone that does have documented evidence of qualification.

After investigating different options, HM chose to use Enbridge Technology’s training curriculum to qualify employees performing covered tasks. Enbridge is a widely recognized supplier of training materials for pipeline operations and maintenance. The evaluation materials were created by Enbridge training development consultants and practicing gas and liquid pipeline subject-matter experts who had reviewed factors such as 49 CFR 195 standards, industry-best practices, Enbridge training program content and competitor’s products.

Each module consists of a training narrative for the employee, a description of task purpose, basic theory of operation, regulatory requirements and safety hazards. There is a self-check quiz and a complete list of procedures for performing the task. An on-the-job checklist can be used to verify employee skills. There are also a number of abnormal operating condition scenarios that are used to satisfy the DOT’s abnormal operating condition section of its rule. The module also includes a comprehensive final examination.

The services that HM provides and the DOT has defined as covered tasks are:

  • Measure Structure to Soil Potentials
  • Perform Close Interval Surveys
  • Test to Detect Interference
  • Inspect and Test Bonds and Isolation Devices
  • Measure Soil Resistivity
  • Maintain Test Leads
  • Inspect Rectifiers
  • Place and Maintain Line Markers
  • Provide Temporary Markings to a Buried Pipeline Prior to Excavation
  • Inspect Excavation Activities

Results of employees’ training will be housed on the pipeline industry sponsored webpage ISNetWorld. Pipeline operators will be able to log into the site and check qualifications for any HM employee.

HM believes that adding the Enbridge Technology curriculum to our existing training program will give our clients the best solution for pipeline contractor requirements. For more information on HM’s Operator Qualification Plan, please contact Chris Hartnell at 281-381-8371.