In November 2013 the revised ASME PCC-1 “Guidelines for Pressure Boundary Bolted Joint Assembly” were published including Appendix A, “Training and Qualification of Bolted Joint Assembly Personnel.” This Appendix outlines a training, examination and qualification system for ensuring a consistent level of knowledge and experience for bolting assemblers and specialists working on bolted flange joint assemblies. The ultimate objective is a mobile workforce capable of bolting ASME plant with a minimum performance standard safely and with no subsequent leaks.
Major operators and contractors involved in oil and gas, petrochemical and power generation, or any industry that uses bolted flange joint assemblies, can benefit from PCC-1. Benefit recognition has begun with operators now specifying PCC-1 compliance in their procedures and bid packages.
However, nearly three years after the introduction of Appendix A the number of Qualifying Organizations approved to deliver the program and individuals qualified via these programs remains stubbornly small in comparison with other programs and insufficient to meet the future safety demands of the industry or the objective of PCC-1 and Appendix A.
This technical paper reviews key elements of Appendix A, compares Appendix A with other international qualifications and suggests recommendations intended to increase recognition and compliance with these guidelines. The recommendations and expected benefits follow from an extensive review of work by other organizations and published data concerned to reduce recorded leaks from bolted joints, including:
a) Implementation lessons learned from a Qualifying Organization and Review Organization.
b) Current international qualifications and the differing routes to achieve each qualification including:
1) ASME PCC-1 Appendix A Training and Qualification of Bolted Joint Assembly Personnel.
2) European standard EN1591-4 Qualification of personnel competency in the assembly of the bolted connections of critical service pressurized systems.
3) Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) Mechanical Joint Integrity (MJI) technical training standards and Step Change in Safety Mechanical Joint Integrity Route to Competence Guidance
4) Additional country specific qualifications
c) Program effectiveness study of the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB) Mechanical Joint Integrity (MJI) program and the Step Change in Safety Hydrocarbon Release (HCR) model set up to achieve leak reduction in the UK North Sea sector.
Finally, the paper will conclude with outlining the benefits to be gained globally through standardization of international qualification programs to enable true portability including:
a) The need to increase the number of auditable Qualifying Organizations able to deliver the program, qualify individuals and engage operator/contractors in the process.
b) Importance of effective communication and summary of the guidelines.