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Proactive Safety

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New pipelines are designed and built with high-tech materials and monitoring systems. Cutting edge technology helps us find and fix issues before they become a problem.
Smart pigs are high-tech inspections tools that can see inside the pipe like an ultrasound or MRI at the doctor's office. High-tech pipeline inspection sensors bounce sound waves off the pipe wall to ensure there are no cracks.



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Proactive inspections and preventative maintenance make #pipelines the safest way to transport petroleum products. 99.999% of products transported by pipeline reach their destination safely.

#Pipeline operators proactively inspect their pipelines on regular schedules to look for any potential issues and ensure the pipe remains safe.

#Pipeline operators use “smart pig” inspection tools with ultrasonic technology, just like you find at a doctor's office, to scan the pipe walls and proactively look for issues before they become problems.

A pipeliner’s job is about safety—for people and our environment. We use proactive pipeline inspections to find and fix issues before any signs of trouble. #PipelineSafety

Pipeline Safety Performance 

For more information on industry safety, read the API-AOPL Annual Pipeline Safety Excellence Performance Report.

Additional Resources

Pipeline Questions and Answers

Q: How do pipeline operators know if their pipelines are safe?

A: Pipeline operators proactively inspect their pipeline systems on regular schedules looking for issues before they become a safety problem. Diagnostic tools called “smart pigs” travel through the pipelines scanning for issues just like an MRI or ultrasound at the doctor’s office.

Q: How do pipeline operators prevent incidents from occurring?

A: Pipeline operators proactively inspect their pipelines and then fix any issues they find. This strategy of preventive maintenance prevents incidents before they have a chance to occur?

Q: What technologies do pipeline operators use to inspect their pipelines?

A: Pipeline operators use diagnostic robots called “smart pigs” that travel through the pipeline scanning the pipe’s walls like an MRI or ultrasound at the doctor’s office.  Up close, a pipeline operator can use a handheld scanner that uses ultrasound to produce a picture of the pipe wall and identify potential issues.

Q: How safe are pipelines?

A: Pipelines are the safest way to transport liquid energy. Pipelines deliver their products safely over 99.999% of the time, safer than other modes of transportation.

Q: How do pipeline operators know their pipelines are safe if they are buried underground and can’t be seen?

A: Pipeline operators send diagnostic tools inside pipelines that scan the pipe’s walls from inside and send data back to the operator showing where maintenance is needed.

Q: Are older pipelines less safe?

A: Proactive inspections and preventive maintenance keep pipelines operating safely over time. Safety experts agree for a pipeline that is regularly inspected and maintained over time age is not an issue.

Pipeline Safety Principles

Use these principles to guide your content.

  1. Zero Incidents: Only with a goal of zero safety incidents can we minimize accidents. Pipeline operators believe that every incident is preventable and work to that high standard.
  2. Organization-Wide Commitment: Not only do senior leaders of pipeline companies value safety, but safety is emphasized at every level of the organization from employees who accept personal responsibility for safety to front-line managers who are vital to reinforcing a safety culture and implementing continuous improvement.
  3. A Culture of Safety: Pipeline operators embrace the need to provide a workplace culture where safety is an enduring value that all employees share, act upon, learn from, are rewarded for and judged upon.
  4. Continuous Improvement: Pipeline operators believe that no matter how safe they already are, they can always improve safety. Vision, commitment, culture, and systems are necessary to improve safety continuously.
  5. Learn from Experience: Pipeline operators learn how they can improve safety from their own experiences, and by sharing lessons learned industry-wide with other pipeline operators.
  6. Systems for Success: Management systems demonstrate that safety efforts are succeeding by measuring performance, tracking changes and confirming improvements.
  7. Employ Technology: Liquid pipeline operators are proud of their industry-leading technology.  From in-line inspections with diagnostic robots traveling inside pipelines called “smart pigs” to innovative ways to interpret integrity data, operators constantly research and develop new ways to maximize safety.
  8. Communicate with Stakeholders: Operators know communicating with the public and stakeholders who value safety, from advocates to the government, is vital to improving safety.


Pipeline operators love getting out in the field, using their hi-tech tools, performing their engineering analysis and practicing their response plans. All of this work to keep pipelines safe provides great videos, fact sheets and toolkits. Access them here: