Atmos Pipeline Endorsement
In 2021, Atmos Energy Corporation provided NCCER with a set of additional requirements for contractors who wish to work on its project entitled The Atmos Energy Operator Qualifications Plan (“Atmos OQ Plan”). As an accrediting body, NCCER does not directly provide labor or other contractor services to Atmos, but a significant number of NCCER accredited organizations do. In order to comply with the provisions of the Atmos OQ Plan, NCCER has agreed to enforce these additional requirements via the Atmos Pipeline Program Endorsement (“Atmos Endorsement”) detailed in this document.
Endorsement Program Requirements
In order to maintain an Atmos Endorsement, an NCCER Accredited Training Sponsor (ATS) must do ALL of the following:
- Ensure all performance evaluators delivering NCCER Performance Profiles for an Atmos site are trained using NCCER’s Performance Evaluator training program and have a minimum of three (3) years of experience in performing the task(s) they evaluate. Endorsed programs should maintain documentation validating the above and be able to provide the same upon request by NCCER and/or Atmos.
- Understand and ensure all candidates are aware that the passing score for Atmos OQ module tests is 80% or greater.
- Require candidates to wait at least three (3) business days before retaking any Atmos OQ knowledge test or skill evaluation after any unsuccessful attempt.
- Ensure that all successful and unsuccessful attempts on Atmos OQ Performance Profiles are submitted and recorded within the Endorsed ATS’s records.
- Conduct retraining anytime a candidate makes three (3) consecutive unsuccessful attempts on a particular Atmos OQ module exam or Performance Profile.
- Ensure that there are no more than 20 candidates per proctor in any testing session utilizing Atmos OQ modules/courses.
- Consent to its records and associated documentation being audited by NCCER and/or Atmos at any time upon request.
- Complete the Atmos required qualification documentation indicating that each of the ATS’s personnel (and any permitted subcontractor personnel, if applicable) performing a Covered Task is qualified to perform that Covered Task and that the information is provided to ISN.
- Maintain detailed training records and make them available to NCCER and/or Atmos upon request.
- Retain all OQ records for a minimum of six (6) years.
- Retain complete records, documents and other evidence related to training, assessment and certification and make them available to NCCER and/or Atmos upon request.
- Acknowledge that all Atmos materials provided to the ATS via NCCER, including but not limited to procedures, certification forms, approved product lists, etc., are the property of Atmos and should not be used or provided for any purposes outside of the training and qualification of contractors working for Atmos without the prior written consent of Atmos. Upon termination of the ATS’s accreditation and/or Atmos Endorsement, the ATS shall either return to NCCER or destroy all such materials.
- Provide and furnish all material, labor, services, supervision, tools, apparatus, conveyance, equipment and incidental expenses required to complete OQ services to Atmos.
- Not assign, transfer or otherwise dispose of any of the ATS’s obligations or duties hereunder without the prior written approval of Atmos.
- Agree that the ATS will not subcontract for any of the OQ services without the prior approval of Atmos and that it will not be relieved of any duty or liability relating to the OQ services by reason of subcontracting. For the purposes of this Endorsement program, personnel of an ATU or TU under an ATS that are not direct employees of the ATS organization would be considered subcontractors.
Delivery of Atmos OQ Modules
Whenever providing OQ services for Atmos, any Accredited Training Sponsor (ATS) holding an Atmos Endorsement must deliver a specific version of each Atmos OQ module exam designed to meet the requirements of this program to its candidates. These Atmos OQ modules are delivered through the NCCER Learning Platform and are set up to apply the correct passing score and credentialing requirements under the Atmos OQ Plan.
Auditing of Endorsed Programs
Atmos Endorsed ATSs will generally be audited on the same cycle as they would for their ATS accreditation. However, as set forth in the Endorsement Program Requirements section of this document, ATSs holding this endorsement may be subject to audit by NCCER and/or Atmos at any time upon reasonable request and will be expected to meet all requirements set forth herein during any audit. NCCER reserves the right to revoke the Atmos Endorsement at any time upon the determination that all Endorsement Program requirements are not being met by the ATS, and/or at the specific direction of Atmos.
It is strongly recommended that the ATS maintain all records for any OQ services provided in association with its Atmos Endorsement separately from other NCCER training records.
An Atmos Endorsement application must be completed and approved by the NCCER Accreditation department.
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