Welcome to Pipeline Safety Management Systems (Pipeline SMS)

In 2015, the pipeline industry completed the development of a framework for Pipeline Safety Management System (Pipeline SMS) designed specifically for pipeline operators. Created at the recommendation of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), this API Recommended Practice (RP) was developed by pipeline operators, for pipeline operators. The RP’s framework is flexible enough to help those new to SMS, as well as those with sophisticated, existing systems. It is scalable to allow operators large and small to benefit. In all cases, a Pipeline SMS similar to the RP framework will improve the safety culture essential to achieving maximum safety performance.

Managing the safety of a complex process requires coordinated actions to address the multiple, dynamic activities and circumstances. Simple management oversight focused on a single activity or process may not be enough to account for all the variables contributing to safe operations. Many industrial sectors, including chemical manufacturing, refining, nuclear power and aviation are using safety management systems (SMS) to improve their safety performance. SMS users gain better information on the safety of their systems, learn where they can improve safety and measure progress toward improved safety performance.

API RP 1173 is the culmination of a two year effort by pipeline operators, state and federal regulators, and other engaged stakeholders collaborating to advance to the goal of zero incidents. Along with ensuring that safety is the top priority, the document has only been recognized by both NTSB and the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) for the positive contribution it has made in furthering safe operations throughout the industry.

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