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The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is providing the following information to urge the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) and Honeywell to take action on safety recommendations intended to prevent the incorrect installation of PermaLock mechanical tapping tee assemblies in gas distribution systems. These recommendations are derived from our ongoing investigation of a fatal accident involving a natural gas explosion and fire in Millersville, Pennsylvania. The NTSB is issuing two recommendations to PHMSA and two recommendations to Honeywell.
TO THE PIPELINE AND HAZARDOUS MATERIALS SAFETY ADMINISTRATION: Work with state pipeline regulators to incorporate into their inspection programs, a review to ensure that gas distribution pipeline operators are using best practices recommended by the manufacturer in their distribution integrity management programs, including using the specified tools and methods, to correctly install PermaLock mechanical tapping tee assemblies.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Open - Initial Response Received
Millersville, PA, United States
Gas Explosion Destroyed Homes
Safety Recommendation Report: Installation of PermaLock Mechanical Tapping Tee Assemblies
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
PHMSA (Open - Initial Response Received)
Safety Recommendation History
-From Howard L. Elliott, Administrator: We concur. By August 31, 2019, PHMSA proposes to modify supporting information in the Distribution Integrity Management Program (DIMP) Inspection Assistant (IA) to specifically reference the issues with installation of PermaLock mechanical tapping tee assemblies. The changes to the DIMP IA will help federal and state users ensure that gas distribution operators are following manufacturer best practices for parts, including the PermaLock mechanical tapping tee assembly. PHMSA will notify states of the updated questions when they are published. Furthermore, PHMSA will post the updated forms on our website. PHMSA's IA program is used by all federal-and some state-regulators, and it is therefore an efficient way to communicate pressing safety issues to pipeline regulators. To reach PHMSA's state partners, by August 31, 2019, PHMSA will update our Gas State Program Evaluation questionnaire to include an assessment of whether state inspectors have guidance on reviewing operators' use of manufacturer-recommended best practices in their operations and maintenance manuals and distribution integrity management programs. This guidance should include the use of specified tools and methods to correctly install PermaLock mechanical tapping tee assemblies. PHMSA is currently communicating with the National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives (NAPSR) regarding these modifications. By January 31, 2019, PHMSA will also work with the American Public Gas Association (APGA) Security and Integrity Foundation (SIF) to include a set of questions regarding PermaLock mechanical tapping tee assemblies in the APGA SIF's Simple, Handy, Risk based Integrity Management Plan (SHRIMP) online tool for operators of natural gas distribution systems. Operators use SHRIMP to create a DIMP plan customized for the specific needs of their systems. PHMSA's work with APGA and APGA SIF has already begun. Actions to date include APGA forwarding the NTSB report and recommendations to its members, informing operators that risks identified with PermaLock mechanical tapping tee assemblies should be accounted for in an Operator's DIMP, and reminding operators that they should ensure that best practices recommended by the manufacturers are incorporated into applicable procedures in their required operations and maintenance manuals.
On June 18, 2018, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) adopted its safety recommendation report Installation of PermaLock Mechanical Tapping Tee Assemblies, PSR-18/01. This report is based on our ongoing investigation of a fatal accident involving a natural gas explosion and fire in Millersville, Pennsylvania, on July 2, 2017. The details of the ongoing investigation and the resulting safety recommendations may be found in the attached report, which can also be accessed at http://www.ntsb.gov. Among the Safety Recommendations are two recommendations issued to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, which can be found on page 9 of the report. The NTSB is vitally interested in these recommendations because they are designed to prevent accidents and save lives. We would appreciate a response within 90 days, detailing the actions you have taken or intend to take to implement these recommendations. When replying, please refer to the safety recommendations by number. We encourage you to submit your response to email@example.com. If it exceeds 10 megabytes, including attachments, please e-mail us at the same address for instructions. Please do not submit both an electronic copy and a hard copy of the same response.
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