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What Is The Pipeline Operator Qualifications Rule?

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is a federal agency that regulates the transportation of hazardous materials by pipeline. PHMSA has a number of requirements in place to ensure the safety of pipeline operators. One of these requirements is the Operator Qualification (OQ) rule.


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The OQ rule requires pipeline operators to develop a program to ensure that their employees are qualified to perform certain tasks. These tasks include, but not limited to:

  • Operating and maintaining pipelines

  • Performing maintenance on pipelines

  • Responding to emergencies

The OQ rule applies to all pipeline operators, regardless of the size of their operation. This includes companies that own and operate pipelines, as well as companies that contract to perform work on pipelines.

There are a number of different ways to meet the OQ requirements. Companies can develop their own OQ program, or they can use a third-party training provider. The OQ program must include the following elements:

  • A list of covered tasks

  • Training requirements for each covered task

  • An evaluation process to assess an employee's ability to perform each covered task

The OQ rule is an important part of PHMSA's efforts to ensure the safety of pipeline operations. By requiring pipeline operators to have qualified employees, PHMSA is helping to prevent accidents and protect the public.


Who Needs OQ Training?

The OQ rule applies to all pipeline operators, regardless of the size of their operation. This includes companies that own and operate pipelines, as well as companies that contract to perform work on pipelines.

The following are some examples of companies that may need OQ training:

  • Pipeline companies

  • Natural gas companies

  • Oil companies

  • Contractors that work on pipelines

  • Maintenance companies that work on pipelines

  • Emergency response companies that work on pipelines

If you work for a company that is involved in pipeline operations, you may need to complete OQ training. To find out if you need OQ training, you should contact your company's safety department.


So, What Now?

The OQ rule is an important part of PHMSA's efforts to ensure the safety of pipeline operations. By requiring pipeline operators to have qualified employees, PHMSA is helping to prevent accidents and protect the public. If you work for a company that is involved in pipeline operations, you may need to complete OQ training. To find out if you need OQ training, you should contact your company's safety department.


For more information on the OQ rule, please visit PHMSA's website: https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/pipeline/operator-qualifications/operator-qualification


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Disclaimer

The information in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult with an attorney or qualified professional if you have any questions about the OQ rule or other pipeline safety regulations.

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