The following interpretation from 1990 starts with questioning whether performing service line shut offs is a regulated function for drug testing purposes. The answer is certainly “yes”, and extending this to today’s timeframe, this would also be a ” covered task” subject to Operator Qualification requirements.
But there is a bigger answer in this interpretation regarding all functions an operator would put in their O&M manual. It states “Any function an operator includes in this plan, including functions that are not otherwise regulated by Part 192, is a regulated function because compliance with the plan is mandatory.”
Operators need to remember that everything in the O&M must be followed, even when procedures and activities exceed the regulatory requirements.
The interpretation follows…
Interpretation 192.727 14
July 25, 1990
Ms. Michele E. Gonsalves
Long Island Lighting Company
175 East Old Country Road
Hicksville, NY 11801
Dear Ms. Gonsalves:
Your letter of April 19, 1990, asks whether cutting off gas service at the meter and installing a locking device constitutes abandonment or inactivation of a pipeline under § 192.727 regardless of the length of time the service is off. The question is raised in connection with our earlier letter, which advised you that a person who performs a function regulated by § 192.727 is subject to drug testing under 49 CFR Part 199.
Section 192.727 applies to a service line when the operator discontinues service to a customer or abandons a service line in place. The language of § 192.727 does not indicate that the length of time service remains discontinued or the service line remains abandoned is a consideration in determining whether the rules under § 192.727 apply. Therefore, any temporary cut off of gas that is covered by § 192.727 would subject the employee performing the cut off to drug testing under Part 199.
Please note that cutting off a service line temporarily for some purpose other than termination of service to a customer, such as a temporary shutdown during an emergency or a maintenance activity, would not indicate intent to discontinue service or abandon the service line. Temporary closures such as these would not be covered by § 192.727.
Notwithstanding that § 192.727 does not apply to all temporary service line cut offs, we consider any cutting off of gas service at the meter, regardless of the purpose, to be a normal operation or maintenance function covered by the operating and maintenance plan requirements of §§ 192.603 and 192.605. Any function an operator includes in this plan, including functions that are not otherwise regulated by Part 192, is a regulated function because compliance with the plan is mandatory. Thus, performance of any function described in an operator’s plan that is intended to implement §§ 192.603 and 192.605, including the temporary cutting off of gas service at the meter, would make the person who performs the function subject to drug testing under Part 199.
George W. Tenley, Jr.
Office of Pipeline Safety
All this and more including new interpretations and operator letters in WinDOT, The Pipeline Safety Encyclopedia.