Systems Integrity Safety Program (SISP)
The SISP's principal objective is to align with PHMSA's mission to protect people and the environment by advancing the safe transportation of energy and other hazardous materials. The program achieves this by implementing a risk-based systems safety management approach to compliance to obtain a high level of safety posture that enhances the safe transportation of hazardous materials.
SISP provides and facilitates in-depth analyses, observations, and cooperative follow-up inspections to identify the root causes of transportation safety concerns. SISP is designed to collaborate with industry and stakeholders to achieve compliance by identifying systems failures, contributing key factors, and implementing systems to control risk and improve safety.
The SISP promotes and applies:
- A common definition and understanding of hazards and risk.
- A consistent process for analyzing and assessing risk associated with a hazard.
- Common risk management techniques.
- Consistent safety assurance processes.
- A common approach to establishing safety performance targets and acceptable levels of risk.
- A consistent auditing process to ensure hazardous materials safety systems integrity.
SISP Investigator Duties
The SISP investigators, commonly referred to as SISP Coordinators, are assigned to each of the regional offices and work together to provide executive direction over the national program. They implement SISP policies through conducting in-depth inspections and systems analysis of broad and complex transportation, manufacturing, testing and operations of eligible entities.
The SISP coordinator will engage internal and external stakeholders to ensure that best approaches are used and that all available assets are maximized in order to achieve the program goals. SISP coordinators will conduct in-depth reviews of data and intelligence on a continual basis to identify risk and unsafe trends regarding hazardous materials transportation. SISP coordinators evaluate the eligibility of regulated entities based on analysis regarding the probability, consequence, measured risk factors, and overall safety concerns associated with the company.
SISP coordinators will prepare a Systems Integrity Safety Oversight Plan (SISOP) to determine which approach and resources will be recommended to address the safety concerns for each company enrolled in the program. The eligibility criteria are designed to maximize the efficient use of agency resources by identifying high risk, high impact areas for focused inspections and assessments. This ensures that safety threats are identified, protected and corrected so that long-term systems are developed and implemented that improves overall safety.
SISP coordinators will develop an action plan to coordinate and monitor in-depth accident investigations, trends of non-compliance, and adverse safety concerns arising within a specific entity, group, or industry. SISOPs may include coordination with various regions, offices within PHMSA, other federal agencies and departments to perform inspections and report all probable violations to the SISP coordinator. The SISP coordinator will use CMS to record all their activities.
SISP Eligibility Criteria
SISP coordinators will conduct in-depth reviews of data and intelligence on a continual basis to identify risk and unsafe trends regarding hazardous materials transportation. Eligibility for SISP programs will be based on analysis regarding the probability, consequence, measured risk factors, and overall safety concerns to determine which entities, groups, commodities, adverse safety trends, or stakeholder assistance that needs to be addressed and selected as SISP priorities.
Regulated entities to be considered for participation in SISP shall meet at least one of the following criteria within the previous five-year period:
- Has more than three (3) separate PHMSA civil enforcement case actions or five (5) separate PHMSA enforcement actions (cases or tickets) and/or warning letters;
- Is identified through adverse safety trends based on data analysis of accidents and/or inspections, high risk/high consequence related activities, or any other outlying factors which may include, but is not limited to:
- More than 50 hazardous materials incidents of a 49 CFR Part 172.504, Table 2 materials in non-bulk packaging;
- More than three hazardous materials incidents of a 49 CFR Part 172.504, Table 2 materials in an intermediate bulk or portable tank packaging;
- More than one hazardous materials incidents of a 49 CFR Part 172.504, Table 1 materials in a packaging other than a cargo tank motor vehicle or railroad tank car;
- More than one serious incident of a hazardous material in a packaging other than a cargo tank motor vehicle or railroad tank car;
- Ordered or recommended by PHMSA to perform a safety recall of a DOT specification, UN Standard, or DOT Special Permit packaging;
- Directed by Region Director, DAAFO or designee, or the Associate Administrator for Hazardous Materials Safety.
Regulated entities meet these criteria irrespective of whether they were directly or indirectly involved. For example, the carrier, the freight forwarder and the original shipper could all be identified with regard to a hazardous material incident.
Conducting SISP Inspections
System Integrity Inspection (SII)
Once a regulated entity has been identified for consideration into SISP, the SISP coordinator will initiate a SISOP to recommend next courses of action. The SISOP will determine which measured approach and resources will be recommended to address the safety concerns. The eligibility criteria are designed to maximize the efficient use of agency resources by identifying high risk, high impact areas for focused investigations and assessments to ensure that safety threats are identified and are protected and/or corrected and adequate systems are implemented to control and/or improve overall safety.
Once the SISOP is complete and the SISP coordinator has received approval from their supervisor, they will prepare an entrance briefing for the regulated entity. The entrance briefing will inform the regulated entity of the safety risks and provide background information about the SII process. The SISP coordinator will continue to gather additional data, conduct compliance inspections, issue public notices, and any other actions appropriate to the risks identified during the data review stage.
The regulated entity will have 30 days to review the entrance briefing and elect to enter into a SII agreement.
Prior to entering into a SII agreement, the regulated entity may choose to work collaboratively to address its systemic safety issues. PHMSA will work with the regulated entity to ensure that any proposed plan, if offered by the regulated entity, meets the safety concerns raised during the entrance briefing. The SII agreement will be signed if PHMSA and the regulated entity agree on the terms of a plan.
A regulated entity may request confidential treatment of information shared with PHMSA by following the procedures set forth in 49 CFR Part105.30.
Terms of SII Agreement
The SII agreement will include operational and legal limitations such as the requirement for full disclosure and production of data, processes, systems and operations by the regulated entity in order to facilitate a complete and accurate assessment. The SII agreement does not authorize non-compliance activity or allow transportation in violation of the HMR.
The SII agreement describes the basic framework for participation in the program, but is designed to give both parties (PHMSA and regulated entity) flexibility as the agreement progresses. Accordingly, a minimum of three addenda to the SII agreement are contemplated which will detail the requirements and responsibilities of each party. These addenda will be negotiated between PHMSA and the regulated entity. An addendum will be created at the beginning of each of three phases described below:
Phase 1 – The SISP coordinator and the regulated entity will identify the documents and information needed to conduct an initial analysis of the regulated entity's systems (e.g., operations, quality assurance). The Phase 1 addendum will detail the information the regulated entity will provide to the SISP coordinator and will set timetables for the production and the analysis of that information.
Phase 2 – The SISP coordinator and the regulated entity will cooperatively determine sites (facilities, locations) for inspection based on the probable causes of the safety problems identified in Phase 1. The sites for inspection will be identified in the Phase 2 Addendum. Phase 2 may be an iterative process and may require the adoption of multiple addenda.
Site visits will provide the opportunity to observe the current operations and any improvements resulting from prior site visits. The SISP coordinator will conduct an SII exit briefing following each site visit and will identify any probable violations. The SISP coordinator will also provide feedback regarding quality assurance items and best business practices.
Phase 3 – The SISP coordinator will prepare a recommendation report summarizing the findings and suggest actions that ensure continued compliance and promotes safety beyond the minimum regulatory requirements. The regulated entity, however, is under no obligation to implement any of these recommended actions.
Post SISP Inspection Activities
SISP coordinators should identify best practices as part of their evaluation of the SII agreement.
SISP coordinators will access, share and distribute pertinent information with other OHMS Divisions (e.g. Approvals and Permits, Standards, etc.). This will include any improvements to inspection policies; identifying regulatory modifications; sharing innovative technologies; and identifying positive and negative safety trends.
SISP coordinators will access, share and distribute information to outside stakeholders (e.g. DOT modal partners and Federal agencies, industry and professional organizations, etc.). SISP coordinators will coordinate with HMSAT to provide training and education opportunities to regulated communities. Additionally, SISP coordinators will assess and share new technologies affecting the different modes of transportation and communicate general and industry-specific best practices.
The outcomes of all activities managed by the SISP coordinators will be measured by quantifying pre- and post-SISP data, and identifying process improvements implemented to the regulated entity's operations. These measurements will be developed and completed by the SISP coordinators. In most cases, data will not be able to be accurately measured until at least one-year after conclusion of the SII agreement.