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PIPELINE SAFETY IMPROVEMENT ACT AND OPERATOR QUALIFICATION

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January 12, 2003

The Qualification of Pipeline Personnel (OQ) rule requires pipeline Operators to develop and maintain a written qualification program for individuals performing covered tasks on pipeline facilities. The qualification rule intents to ensure a qualified pipeline work force and to reduce the probability and consequence of incidents caused by human error. The final rule created new subparts in the gas and hazardous liquid pipeline safety regulations. OQ established qualification requirements for individuals performing covered tasks, and amended certain training requirements in the hazardous liquid regulations. The OQ final rule was developed through a negotiation process and was effective on August 26, 1999. The rule required all individuals performing covered tasks to be qualified by October 28, 2002. The Operators made a great effort and investment to comply with the OQ rule. Operators created their OQ program, implemented its processes, generated evaluation records for employees and contractors, and began to breathe a relieved sigh. However, President Bush signed into law the Pipeline Improvement Act on December 17, 2002

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