A Pipeline Safety Management System is much more than a Gap Assessment


Operator Challenge

I have conducted a Gap Assessment. Now what do I do?

We find that many operators are in this position. Joey, an Operations Superintendent, recently conducted a Gap Assessment using the API RP1173 implementation tools and then started addressing gaps. Although this was an important initial step to take, Joey didn't realize this was not a Pipeline Safety Management System and was not going to get his Leadership on-board.  

Getting Stuck

Joey got stuck. He thought they were making progress, ticking off gaps and talking lots about their Pipeline SMS, but they started struggling to understand what to do next, and Leadership still weren't getting it. Furthermore, other managers and supervisors didn't seem to be changing their ways and employees really didn't know anything about the Pipeline Safety Management System. It didn't feel right. 


Having a Pipeline SMS Manual defined the whole system: a Leadership Policy, accountabilities and processes to sustain it long-term


The SPAN Pipeline SMS Toolkit includes a Management System Manual which was used by Joey to identify the essential activities for successfully implementing the management system. It also allowed Leadership to easily demonstrate and communicate their commitment to implementing the management system across business operations.

But is a Manual really required?

Yes, because it also clearly defines roles and responsibilities for the Pipeline SMS, and triggers all the needed processes to sustain and improve it over time. It defines the company leaders’ commitment to the entire operation to implement and support the management system.

The PSMS Manual describes the critical activities required to most effectively assess the business and define gaps and actions to ensure compliance and conformance to the Pipeline Safety Management System. Also, it describes how the system will integrate with the organization, and states Leadership’s pledge to meet compliance requirements and ensure effective risk management. These principles are key to driving improved pipeline safety performance and improving the maturity of the operation.

So in short, the Manual contained in the Pipeline SMS Toolkit does exactly what API RP1173 asks for; it provides the foundation to properly implement and sustain the Pipeline SMS long-term - just what Joey needed for his organization. 


Learn more about what's inside the Pipeline SMS Toolkit