Inspectioneering Journal

API TES - Tank Entry Supervisor Certification (TES)

This article appears in the September/October 2003 issue of Inspectioneering Journal.

API is currently developing a new Certification Program - Tank Entry Supervisor Certification (TES).

Starting from 2000 the API Safety and Fire Prevention Committee has recognized the importance of establishing valid procedures and guidelines for petroleum storage tank entry and maintenance. As a result, two groundbreaking documents API/ANSI Standard 2015, Requirements for Safe Entry and Cleaning of Petroleum Storage Tanks and ANSI/API RP 2016, Guidelines and procedures for Entering and Cleaning Petroleum Storage Tanks were developed and published by API under the auspices of SFP Committee.

These documents were well received by the industry and are intended for use in order to develop safe practices for planning, managing, and conducting tank cleaning work in atmospheric and low-pressure storage tanks. However, the members of SFPC and the numerous industry representatives have well recognized that publication of the said documents is only the first step towards overall assurance of personnel safety while entering and cleaning tanks.

The next logical step is educating the concerned audience. To that effect API piloted a Safe Tank Entry Workshop in November 2002. This one-day Workshop was very well attended and received by participants. At the same time, API began conducting a feasibility study to determine interest, need and potential market for a Tank Entry Personnel certification program in order to help the industry to differentiate the truly informed and qualified individuals able to perform the associated tasks. The results of this survey were overwhelmingly positive, encouraging and clearly indicating there is a need for such program.

In March 2003 API has started development of an Individual Certification Program (ICP) intended to address this need - Tank Entry Supervisor (TES) Certification program.

Scope of ICP: This third-party certification program will qualify participants as having the minimum knowledge, experience and skills needed to safely perform duties required by tank entry supervisors. The scope of knowledge includes proper management of petroleum storage tank entry and maintenance work including tank decommissioning, isolation, ventilation, atmospheric testing and analysis, work permitting, OSHA Confined Space regulatory requirements, emergency response and tank recommissioning. The program will be based primarily on the practices and procedures defined in API standards 2015 and 2016.

Target Audience: Owner/operator (facility) supervisors, safety supervisors, tank cleaning contractors, foremen, repair contractors and testers, attendants and entrants conducting entry and work in accordance with API 2015 and 2016. (and NFPA 326)

Objectives: The overall objective for this ICP is to enhance the quality and competency of tank entry and maintenance activities, to minimize the risks of confined space hazards and to improve the overall safety performance of tank maintenance operations.

Timeline: API is currently performing job analysis and delineation of major areas of activities including tasks performed by tank entry supervisors and the knowledge required for safe practices - to be completed by July. Next development stage will include the actual exam questions writing, review, validation, approval and compilation and is scheduled for August – September of this year. We fully expect to have the program completed by the end of the calendar year. The first examination will be offered in March 2004.

For more information regarding this program, or if you have the expertise and would like to help with this program development please contact: Tina Briskin, Manager, ICP at or by phone at (202) 682-8191.

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