SMS Facilitators’ Forum

How many of you would be interested in a face-to-face forum for discussion of issues around pipeline safety management studies?

I’m thinking about a round-table meeting lasting most of a day, probably in conjunction with some other APIA event (ie. the day before or after). It would be an opportunity to learn how others handle various SMS issues, ask questions about aspects that are not clear to you, perhaps present some interesting or unique situations that have arisen.

It would not be a training session – there are other venues for basic training in how to run an SMS.

I envisage few if any formal presentations, although the forum would probably have to be structured around some broad topics so it doesn’t degenerate into an unproductive rabble. Many SMSs are quite routine, but others can involve challenging subjects such as urban encroachment on old thin-walled pipelines, MAOP upgrade, use of off-spec materials, failure of overpressure control, etc. Topics for discussion could be anything from the routine to the exceptional. For example:

  • Specific case studies from some of the challenging examples above (made anonymous of course)
  • Estimating frequencies and severities (covered previously in this blog, but worth more discussion of useful techniques, sanity checks, etc)
  • The relationship between workshops and the broader SMS
  • The relationship between HAZOP and SMS (e.g. stations, facilities, pressure control)
  • Level of SMS at each phase of a project
  • Close-out of SMS actions

Credit for the forum idea goes to Richard McDonough, now with GPA but previously with PIRSA as the SA technical regulator. Richard and myself were part of the ME-038-1 subcommittee that produced the current SMS rules in AS 2885.

I think it’s a great idea. There seem to be benefits to anyone who participates. Exchange of ideas is always good, and in this case it should help participants feel more confident in running SMSs, lift the standard and improve consistency of SMSs around the country, and ultimately that has to help make pipelines even safer.

If you might be interested, let me know.  You can just reply below or use the private feedback form at the bottom of the “About” links in the header of this page.  If I don’t get enough feedback it won’t happen – the ball is in your court.

This entry was posted in Operations, Pipeline design, Risk assessment. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to SMS Facilitators’ Forum

  1. Liz Brierley says:


    SEA Gas would definately be interested in participating.


  2. Jan Hayes says:

    Hi Peter and Richard,
    I’d be more than happy to be involved in the SMS facilitation workshop if there’s room for a process engineer cum sociologist. Perspectives I could bring relate to HAZOP but probably more importantly the soft side of how to facilitate workshops. I used to run HAZOP leader courses and I know you said this was not training, but I’m sure we could work up an outline for a discussion where people share their experiences on the facilitation aspect in particular?
    Given that the success of the technique requires the people to be engaged it would seem to be a pity not to talk about this aspect in addition to more technical matters.
    Jan Hayes

  3. Philip Venton says:

    I’d participate Peter.

    I’d also like the discussion include a topic about the integrity of the SMS.

    I think too many of these are approached casually by the licensee / designer, and rather than being a facilitator, the facilitator is the lead person in the study, providing the threats and solutions from their experience. It is a matter of great concern to me that there will be a pipeline failure, and when examined critically by a bunch of QC’s the SMS process will be shown to have been less than adequate when assessed against the requirements of AS 2885. If this should happen it would through doubt on the whole process, and in so doing, on the integrity of the high pressure pipeline industry

  4. PIRSA says:


    PIRSA would be interested in participating. Also, we support Phil Venton’s comment above regarding the inclusion of a topic about the integrity of the SMS.


  5. Peter,
    From the NSW Regulator’s perspective we would be very supportive of such a workshop and we would intend to have one or two attendeees. The benefit to us would be a furthering our confidence in the industry processes, giving us a view of what to look at when reviewing the documentation of an SMS process as well as sufficient experience to question the process if we were to attend an SMS, purely as an observer.

  6. Deepank Gupta says:

    Hello Peter,

    SP AusNet will be very interested in participating in the proposed forum.


  7. Chris Hughes says:

    Sounds like a great idea – count me in (as long as I can get to the venue).

  8. Anonymous says:

    And me

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hi Peter,
    I’d be interested.
    Regards, Josh

    GPA Engineering

  10. Peter Owbridge says:

    Thanks Peter and yes NZRC would like to participate but depends on timing as flights are already booked for both APIA and POG meeting. Our SMS was intrstingin that we share a corridor with a gas line. Keep me posted please

  11. Pingback: SMS Forum, 16 May 2012 | Pipelines OZ

  12. Pingback: SMS Forum Registration | Pipelines OZ

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