Safety Management Systems

Colonial’s Safety Management System (SMS) is a systematic approach to safety that is integrated throughout the company. Based on standards developed by the American Petroleum Institute (API) and peer pipeline operators, Colonial’s SMS provides a framework that drives continuous improvement and excellence in safety.

Continuous Improvement/​Recommended Practices

Colonial Pipeline is committed to continuously improving our systems and processes to maintain a highly efficient, best-in-class pipeline network. 

Based on API standards, Colonial:

  • Plans pipeline operations with established safety objectives and the processes necessary to deliver results 
  • Performs operations in accordance with the safety plan 
  • Reviews performance indicators to measure improvement 
  • Evaluates organizational performance 
  • Considers recommendations for changes from team members 
  • Implements operational refinements as necessary to enhance safety 

Systematic Approach to Pipeline Safety Management

As an industry responsible for delivering energy throughout the nation, we take measures to protect communities and the environment. Safety Management Systems (SMS) have made a critical difference in other industries, such as aviation, nuclear power, and chemical manufacturing. 

Pipeline operators, through the American Petroleum Institute (API) and in partnership with the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), state pipeline regulators, and other interested stakeholders, developed API RP 1173 to bring the benefits of SMS to pipeline operations. Pipeline operators use API RP 1173 to systematically manage pipeline safety, and continuously measure progress to improve overall pipeline safety performance.

Implementation of Pipeline SMS is a journey, not a destination, and operators face challenges and bumps along the way. With leadership commitment, the pipeline industry reaps the benefits of continual safe operations resulting from a strong Pipeline SMS.

SMS Key Elements

SMS includes 16 essential elements for the comprehensive and systematic management of safety-related activities for pipeline operations. The elements are part of a logical, repeatable, and consistent approach to ensure safe pipeline operations across Colonial’s complex operating organization.

1. Leadership and management commitment

2. Internal stakeholder engagement

3. External stakeholder engagement

4. Leak detection

5. Safety assurance

6. Incident investigation, evaluation and lessons learned

7. Management review and continuous improvement

8. Risk management

9. Emergency preparedness and response

10. Operating procedures

11. System integrity 

12. Technology

13. Change management 

14. Contractor management

15. Competence, awareness and training

16. Documentation and record keeping

Continuous Safety Performance Improvement

Like other management systems, Colonial’s SMS uses a Plan-Do-Check-Adjust process to enable continuous safety performance improvement. Colonial Plans” pipeline operations with established safety objectives and processes necessary to deliver improved results. The Do” phase is how Colonial executes its plans. Key to the process, Colonial Checks” performance indicators to measure improvement. Based on evaluations of performance by the organization and its management, adjustments to Adjusts” upon areas for safety performance improvement are identified and executed.

America’s Pipeline Industry:
Focused on Zero Incidents, Committed to Continuous Improvement