In August 2022 the American Petroleum Institute officially certified the first Pipeline Facility Inspectors.
This certification program, and the exam, is based on the Practical Guide for Facility Inspectors, which was launched by the CEPA Foundation and the INGAA Foundation in 2018. It means that newly certified inspectors now have a qualification that proves them to be knowledgeable and competent. This is a great step forward for quality and consistency in facility inspection standards.
To learn more we spoke with David Montemurro, an independent consultant with Jiva Consulting. Jiva was involved in the production of the original body of knowledge documents used by API, and continues to offer training for certification candidates.
Montemurro explained that the facility inspectors program is currently in its infancy, but he has high hopes that it will follow a similar pattern to the pipeline inspectors program, launched in 2016.
“We now have more than 11,000 certified pipeline inspectors and certification has already become a requirement by many operators,” said Montemurro. “It’s a concrete way for them to ensure that all inspectors are adhering to the same high, consistent standards.”
In an industry where regulations are ever more stringent, there is also a tendency for regulators to scrutinize the credentials of the individuals working on pipeline projects. It makes sense for operators to choose personnel with proven qualifications.
As with pipeline inspectors, certified facility inspectors will have a definite edge when it comes to securing work.
Montemurro also hopes that the certification program will help establish inspection as a distinct career path. Because inspection contracts tend to be short-term, the job has typically been something that retired or out of work pipeline professionals fall back on as a temporary measure. They do, after all, have the appropriate experience and skills. The availability of trained and certified career inspectors, however, is another way for the industry to aim for the consistency that guarantees high standards.
“The industry is always looking to increase quality and craftsmanship on projects,” said Montemuuro. “Having certified inspectors on the job is one aspect of helping reach that goal.”
Training and certification are important ways to build competency in the workforce, and help employees develop their own career paths. You can read more about this in “Developing competency in your workforce”.