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Safety: Operator Qualification

history and purpose


Operator Qualification, commonly known as "OQ", is a non-descriptive, performance-based regulation implemented by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS). The regulation, which went into effect on October 28, 2002, requires each pipeline operator to develop a written assessment program for the qualification of individuals performing certain functions related to general pipeline operations and maintenance. The purpose of the regulation is to ensure that individuals performing work on or near petroleum pipelines are adequately trained and qualified in order to reduce pipeline accidents attributable to human error.

covered tasks and individuals


The OQ regulation stipulates that pipeline operators be charged with evaluating the ability of their personnel to perform certain (covered tasks) on hazardous liquid or gas pipelines. The rule also requires that these covered personnel be able to recognize and respond to abnormal operating conditions while performing these covered tasks.

The OQ rule applies to all individuals who perform covered tasks, whether they are employed by the operator, a contractor, a sub-contractor, or any other entity performing covered tasks on behalf of the operator. Non-qualified individuals are allowed to perform covered tasks provided a qualified individual is directing and observing the non-qualified individual.

pipeliner training and assessment program


In response to this regulation, the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), in cooperation with the American Petroleum Institute (API), developed the Pipeline Training and Assessment Program (PTAP). The PTAP consists of Pipeliner Curriculum and Pipeline Skills Assessments to qualify pipeline personnel under the OQ rules. The PTAP provides for a uniform assessment program that most leading pipeline operators, contractors, and service companies have adopted. The PTAP provides study materials for those individuals who need training to perform covered tasks. The PTAP also provides certain entities designated as assessment centers to administer written and performance OQ examinations (assessments) to qualify individuals to perform covered tasks.

ISNetworld and Veriforce provide an information platform for assessment centers, pipeline operators, contractors, and other entities to submit the OQ status of their employees. These platforms allow operators and other interested parties to verify the OQ status of personnel before they are allowed to perform covered tasks.

bobcat contracting llc – assessment center


Bobcat Contracting LLC is certified by the NCCER as an Assessment Center for the PTAP. This designation allows Bobcat Contracting to adequately test and train its employees who perform OQ covered tasks. For a listing of employees qualified to perform OQ covered tasks, email us at OQ@bobcatcontracting.com

drug testing


Bobcat Contracting maintains a strict drug and alcohol testing program.  The Company’s drug and alcohol testing program complies with the U.S. Department of Transportation regulations 49 CFR Parts 40 and 199, and is approved by National Compliance Management Services (NCMS).

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