The storyline in Joseph Heller’s 1961 book, Catch-22, identified a paradox whereby a pilot is considered insane if he does not ask for relief, but considered fit for service if he does. With this, pilots requesting relief were assigned flights, while those insisting they were fine were grounded.

With the phrase coined it is easy to identify Catch 22s in many parts of life and work. Pipelines are no exception.”

Common to most workplaces is the need to be deemed competent for any work to be assigned, while simultaneously requiring work experience to gain the needed competency. This has become especially prevalent for pipeline inspectors with the 2015 introduction of pipeline inspector certification programs and the recommendation by both CEPA and CPAC, that member companies only use certified pipeline inspectors by the end of 2018.

The Z662 requires that only competent individuals be assigned inspection duties. The basic tool that is used to verify the competency qualification and minimum experience requirements is an API 1169 certificate. Both the American Petroleum Institute and Canadian Pipeliner Accreditation Council require verifiable pipeline inspection experience as a prerequisite to granting API 1169 certification.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn earlier this month that the Canadian Pipeliner Accreditation Council has expanded their Pipeline Inspector Certification Program to include a formalized designation for QC Inspectors. QC Inspectors typically perform the pipeline construction contractor’s verification, and their output is reviewed by the Pipeline Company’s inspector (the 1169 certified inspector). The position of a QC Inspector is often the crossroads for career advancement to either more senior positions in Quality and Integrity Management or Pipeline Inspection. Regardless of the individuals path, this new designation allows pipeliners to demonstrate the required knowledge to be assigned work and gain necessary experience with appropriate oversight. The certification also provides pipeline companies a tool to document competence of personnel in accordance with their Safety and Loss Management System requirements and effectively removes the Catch 22. More information on inspector certification programs can be found at: