Pipeline Safety Risk Assessment Program Could Help Evaluate Inspection Cycle

T-RCED-89-15: Published: Mar 9, 1989. Publicly Released: Mar 9, 1989.

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GAO discussed the Department of Transportation's (DOT) development of inspection cycles. GAO found that: (1) DOT did not evaluate safety risk prior to developing its 2.5-year inspection cycle; (2) DOT established its current inspection cycle based on the number of days it expected its inspectors to take to complete a pipeline unit inspection, the number of units, and the number of inspectors; (3) DOT developed a Pipeline Inspection Priority Program that would provide an opportunity to identify safety hazards; and (4) although regional offices would use computerized data to prioritize pipeline inspections, the system's reliability could be uncertain because DOT did not provide its inspectors sufficient training on the use of the system or on how to assign priorities. GAO believes that the program would enhance the effectiveness of pipeline inspection and ensure pipeline safety, once inspectors received adequate training.

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