New certification creates a North American standard for pipeline inspection

In the transmission pipeline industry, our goal is zero incidents. It’s a big goal, but one that’s worth striving for.

It’s also a goal that the CEPA Foundation is helping the industry reach. The CEPA Foundation represents all the businesses and organizations involved in each aspect of Canada’s energy pipeline industry – over 100 organizations in total.  These companies share their expertise and best practices, working together to set standards for a safer, more sustainable industry.

One of the CEPA Foundation’s most recent priorities has been the development of a Pipeline Inspector Certification (PIC) program, in conjunction with the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGAA) and the INGAA Foundation,

To learn more about the certification program, we spoke with Jason Landa, Chairperson for the CEPA Foundation’s Pipeline Inspector Certification Program, and Vice President of operations at JSG Professional Services, a member of the CEPA Foundation.

Jason explained that the program sets a consistent standard for pipeline inspection across Canada and the U.S.

What a pipeline inspector does

Pipeline inspectors are present during pipeline construction and maintenance, to ensure that all codes, standards and regulatory requirements are met.

“The inspector’s role is to verify that all projects are constructed in accordance with design requirements, regulatory requirements, company specifications and industry best practices,” said Jason.

Why do we need certification?

Pipeline inspectors have always been highly-trained and qualified. After all, pipeline operators need to know that their inspectors are thorough and competent, because spill prevention is a top priority on every level – from financial and environmental, right through to our social license to operate.

But until now, training programs have varied from company to company. While the certification program will not necessarily improve the competency of individual inspectors, it will provide a framework from which training programs can be built.

“The certification program raises the bar for inspectors by providing recognized standards and universally-accepted training requirements,” explained Jason. “Companies will continue to conduct their own training, but the program will establish a baseline to build on.”

How the certification program will be administered

While the CEPA Foundation will continue to manage the guidelines for the program, it will be administered by independent certification bodies, such as NACE, the CWB Group or the American Petroleum Institute. The goal is to have all pipeline inspectors certified by the end of 2018 in order to help us move forward to that goal of zero incidents.

To learn more about how pipeline inspectors spend their days, check out this earlier blog post in which we met Bob Humble, pipeline coatings inspector.