Use of pipeline standards and good practice guidance

The principal legislation governing the safety of pipelines (Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996) is goal setting requiring that pipelines are designed, constructed and operated so that the risks are as low as is reasonably practicable (ALARP). 

In judging compliance, HSE expects duty-holders to apply relevant good practice as a minimum. For new plant/installations/situations, this will mean the application of current good practice. For existing plant/installations/situations, this will mean the application of current good practice to the extent necessary to satisfy the relevant law (ALARP and use of good practice).

In the pipeline industry there are many well established standards, covering design, operations and maintenance of UK sector major accident hazard pipelines, both onshore and offshore, which can be used to demonstrate risks are ALARP. Some of the established standards are listed below. If a duty holder wishes to use other standards, recommendations or guidance then this may be acceptable, provided they can show that they achieve equivalent levels of safety. A gap analysis should be undertaken to confirm this.

European Standards

European standards implemented in the UK as British Normative Standards (BS EN series) and supported by published documents (such as the British Standards PD Series) provide a sound basis for the design of pipelines.

Standards and Good Practice Guidance for Onshore Major Accident Hazard Pipelines

British Standard Code of Practice for Pipelines: BS PD 8010 Part 1: Steel Pipelines on Land.

For natural gas major accident hazard pipelines the Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM) series of recommendation on transmission and distribution practice should be used:-

Standards and Good Practice Guidance for Offshore Major Accident Hazard Pipelines

Flexible Pipe is covered by the following American Petroleum Institute (API) standards and reports, and United Kingdom Offshore Operators Association (UKOOA) guidance:

Standards and Good Practice Guidance for Pipeline Defect Assessment

The gas industry uses the standard P11 "Work procedure for inspection and repair of damaged steel pipelines designed to operate at pressures greater than 2bar".

A number of companies along with the HSE sponsored the development of the Pipeline Defect Assessment Manual (PDAM). Details of this manual are available from the Penspen Integrity web site.

Issue Date: 19 February 2008
Gas and Pipelines Unit

Updated 2023-04-25