Inspectioneering Journal

Solving the Mysteries of Critical Check Valves

By Chad Patschke, CPSA, Principal at Ethos Mechanical Integrity Solutions. This article appears in the May/June 2018 issue of Inspectioneering Journal


In the author’s experience conducting more than sixty American Petroleum Institute (API) Process Safety Site Assessment Program (PSSAP) assessments, critical check valve (CCV) inspection programs are one of the lowest scoring of all of the fixed-equipment mechanical integrity (MI) categories that are assessed. In fact, where a score of 75% meets expectations, CCV inspection programs score 42% on average. In an effort to help the industry improve CCV programs, this article discusses important aspects of a CCV MI program. Specifically, this article will discuss the what, why, where, how, when and who of CCVs, such as:

  • What criteria designates a check valve as critical?
  • Why is a CCV inspection program so important?
  • Where are CCVs found in process units?
  • How should CCVs be inspected?
  • When should CCVs be inspected?
  • Who should inspect CCVs?

The answers to these questions and others should be of major importance to personnel involved in facility fixed equipment MI programs. The top five most commonly given reasons sites have not implemented a CCV program are listed below.

  1. “We are going to get around to it, but there is so much other stuff going on that we just haven’t had time to implement a CCV program.”
  2. “We are waiting on the process safety management department to provide us with a list of CCVs.”
  3. “We don’t have any CCVs because we are not allowed to take credit for them as a safeguard in a process hazard analysis (PHA) or as an independent protection layer (IPL) in a layer of protective analysis (LOPA), so therefore we have been told that we are not allowed to have CCVs.”
  4. “Is CCV inspection a ‘should’ or a ‘shall’ in API 570?”
  5. “I thought someone else was responsible for the CCV program.”

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

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Comments and Discussion

Posted by Bruce Copple on June 29, 2018
I’m not a big fan of doing an internal on check... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by Bradley Baudier on July 9, 2018
Great article! Our CCV program follows very... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by Kiriti Bhattacharya on July 10, 2018
Very good simple article for young... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by Stan Heaney on July 11, 2018
A very good summary. The "why" can be... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by Raghava Nayak on July 20, 2018
LOPA and conservative process safety people do... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

Posted by Paresh Panchal on December 1, 2019
I believe that CCV program shall be available in... Log in or register to read the rest of this comment.

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