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    Changes Underway for Pipeline Training and Assessments

    For Immediate Release

    ALACHUA, Fla. — The American Petroleum Institute (API) released its API Recommended Practice 1161 Third Edition last year to provide guidance for developing and maintaining a pipeline Operator Qualification (OQ) program that is compliant with OQ regulations. The revision included significant changes to API’s covered task list which has impacted training and assessment materials in NCCER’s Pipeline Training and Assessment Program.

    To stay current with industry practices and align to the revised API Recommended Practice 1161, NCCER is updating both its covered task list and OQ materials. As NCCER’s pipeline materials are revised, all methods of qualification – training, assessments and Performance Verifications – will release at the same time in groupings of covered tasks called “series.” Due to the extensive nature of changes to API’s covered tasks, which impact approximately 70 percent of NCCER’s covered task list, NCCER will maintain two covered task lists – Version 1.0 and Version 2.0 – throughout the update process.

    NCCER’s Version 1.0 Covered Task List includes existing covered tasks and corresponding OQ materials, including curricula, written assessments and Performance Verifications. As new OQ materials become available for new covered tasks, they will be published on NCCER’s Version 2.0 Covered Task List. The older versions of these materials will still be available after the new OQ materials and covered tasks are announced.

    To minimize the impact of the introduction of the new versions, NCCER will continue to send completions of Version 1.0 OQ materials to ISNetworld for a minimum of one year after revised versions are released. NCCER OQ materials that are currently highlighted on the Version 1.0 Covered Task List will expire December 31, 2016 and will no longer be reported to ISNetworld after that date. Contractors can subscribe to ISNetworld to manage their training and record-keeping requirements, as well as share their qualification information with operators. Individuals can continue to access their training and assessment records through the NCCER Registry System.

    NCCER’s Pipeline Training and Assessment Program covers seven discipline areas: Gas Pipeline Operations, Liquid Pipeline Field Operations, Liquid Pipeline Control Center Operations, Pipeline Corrosion Control, Pipeline Electrical & Instrumentation, Pipeline Maintenance and Pipeline Mechanical. NCCER has already updated its Abnormal Operating Conditions (AOC) modules for AOC Field and Gas and AOC Control Center, along with the associated assessments. Trainee guides for the modules are available on demand and through Pearson’s Custom Library in both print and digital formats. Instructor versions are available as print on demand and include trainee guide modules, lesson plans and tests. Digital versions, complete with PowerPoint® presentations, are available through NCCER’s online Instructor Resource Center with the purchase of an access code card.

    NCCER offers various testing components associated with each pipeline series, including written and performance end-of-module exams, written assessments and Performance Verifications. All forms of testing are designed to identify an individual’s pipeline knowledge and skills, and the Performance Verifications measure practical, hands-on application of skills. The tests are directly linked to covered tasks, and they can be completed on a task-by-task basis. NCCER offers online testing through its Testing Management System, as well as paper-based testing, which benefits pipeline contractors working in areas with limited internet connectivity. In addition, contractors can customize assessments to meet operators’ specific covered-task requirements. Customized assessments must include between 40 to 150 test items.

    The Department of Transportation’s Pipeline Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration (PHMSA) developed OQ regulations to maintain the integrity of pipelines throughout the country. OQ regulations were designed to reduce incidents due to human error. Individuals performing covered tasks must be qualified and able to recognize and react to abnormal operating conditions because an incident can turn catastrophic quickly. PHMSA’s code of federal regulations (CFR) governs the covered tasks that pipeline operators require from their contractors. CFR Part 192 relates to the training of transportation of natural and other gases by pipeline, and CFR Part 195 relates to the training of hazardous liquids transportation by pipeline. OQ regulations do not define covered tasks; instead, each operator must define his or her own covered tasks based on API’s Four-Part Rule. Only pipeline operators determine what criteria will qualify individuals, contractors and subcontractors working on their pipelines. Furthermore, only operators can set expiration dates for their qualifications.

    About NCCER — NCCER is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) education foundation created by the construction industry to develop standardized curriculum with portable credentials and to help address the skilled construction workforce shortage. NCCER is recognized by the industry as the training, assessment, certification and career development standard for the construction and maintenance craft professional. For more information, visit or contact NCCER customer service at 888.622.3720.

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