What is B31Q?
It is an ASME standard that provides general and specific requirements for the qualification of pipeline personnel. The implementation of this standard is intended to minimize pipeline failures caused by human error. This standard does not impose a requirement to perform specific tasks that affect the safety or integrity of the pipeline. It does, however, set the requirements for qualification of individuals in the event these types of tasks are performed. This standard establishes the requirements for identifying covered tasks that impact the safety or integrity of pipelines, for qualifying individuals to perform those tasks, and for managing the qualifications of pipeline personnel.
What is the difference between B31Q and the PHMSA OQ rule (49 CFR 192 & 195)?
ASME writes international standards, which require a standard across the entire industry, addressing the whole program, regardless of the regulation. Technical justification was the driver of components, not regulation. Rather than utilize the 4-Part test, as stated in 192 Subpart N and 195 Subpart G, to determine covered tasks, the B31Q committee utilized a methodology that identified those tasks which can affect the safety or integrity of the pipeline. This methodology broadens the scope of what tasks could be considered "covered tasks".
The B31Q standard remains as non-mandatory standard, at this time, because it has not been incorporated by reference into the applicable codes.
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