In 2016 PHMSA released the Public Awareness Program Working Group (PAPWG) SWOT Report of Key Findings to Support Improving Public Awareness.
PHMSA, the pipeline industry and other stakeholders continue working to improve the outreach and effectiveness of pipeline operator public awareness programs.
Federal pipeline safety regulations require pipeline operators to conduct continuing public awareness programs to provide pipeline safety information to four stakeholder audiences, including:
- affected public,
- emergency officials,
- local public officials, and
Federal pipeline safety regulations (49 CFR 192.616 and 49 CFR 195.440) require pipeline operators to develop and implement public awareness programs that follow the guidance provided by the American Petroleum Institute (API) Recommended Practice (RP) 1162, "Public Awareness Programs for Pipeline Operators" (incorporated by reference in federal regulations).
API RP 1162 is an industry consensus standard that provides guidance and recommendations to pipeline operators for the development and implementation of enhanced public awareness programs. It addresses various elements of such programs, including the intended audiences, the kinds of information to be communicated, frequencies and methodologies for communicating the information, and evaluation of the programs for effectiveness.
PHMSA has hosted and co-hosted public awareness program workshops to gather public input, help pipeline operators develop and implement effective public awareness programs, and to discuss effectiveness evaluations of operator public awareness programs.
Public Awareness Program Working Group
PHMSA convened a collaborative stakeholder group, the Public Awareness Program Working Group (PAPWG), in September 2013. The mission of the PAPWG was to review pipeline safety public awareness data and information from various sources, identify relevant topical review areas, perform “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats” (SWOT) analyses of those areas, and issue a report of key findings to support improving public awareness. The PAPWG Report is available here.
We have documented various frequently asked questions (FAQs) and their responses to provide insight into PHMSA's inspection approach to the issues they describe.
Inspection and Enforcement Documents
As part of our continuous improvement approach for inspecting pipeline operator public awareness program effectiveness, an inspection form and enforcement guidance for both gas and hazardous liquid pipelines have been developed for federal and state inspectors. These documents may be modified to reflect insights and lessons learned from inspections to further assure that public awareness objectives are being achieved. Any updates to these documents will be made available when they are finalized.