The Pipeline Safety Improvement Act (“Act”) is a U.S. federal law that aims to improve the integrity and safety of pipelines in the natural gas transmission industry. This federal law was enacted in 2002. The Act mandates significant changes and new requirements in the procedure used by the natural gas industry to ensure the safety and integrity of its pipelines. This law applies to natural gas transmission pipeline companies.
Pursuant to the provisions of the Act, each pipeline operator has to prepare and implement an "integrity management program." This program requires operators to identify “high consequence areas (HCA)" on their systems, conduct risk analyses of these areas, perform baseline integrity assessments of each pipeline segment, and inspect the entire pipeline system according to a prescribed schedule and using prescribed methods.Additionally, the Act mandates pipeline operators to participate in planned-excavation and one-call notification programs.
Some other provisions of the Act include:
1. Whistle-blower protection for pipeline system employees.
2. Penalties for violations of mandated safety standards.
3. Qualification programs for employees who perform sensitive tasks