What Is Joint Integrity Management?

The process of recording all activities specific to inspection/assembly/tightening of any bolted connection – it could be based on Criticality Rating or basically recording the BAD ACTORS on site say HEAT EXCHANGERS so all of the relevant data is logged against a unique tag or identification code.


Assurance of the long-term integrity of a flanged bolted connection joint requires capture and control of data regarding all activities carried out on that joint, from design through to decommissioning. Recording traceable data encourages best practice at the time of the activity, and will provide useful planning data for the next time the joint is disturbed. It is also critical in ensuring that materials used, procedures and bolt loads applied are all based on the latest approved practice for that joint.

As this joint is broken and remade over its lifetime, an audit trail of what has taken place is vital in playing a role to assure process safety for the operator. The process of breaking these joints during maintenance or engineering activities is typically controlled using a “flange break register” in accordance with relevant operator standards. These registers hold basic details about the joint and when it passed through various key stages in its lifecycle, from being broken to being re-made and tested prior to re-entering service. These joints are identified in the field using a plastic tag made up of multiple parts that can be detached and returned to the person responsible for updating the register.

Maintenance and Turnarounds

All joints that are to be made or disturbed should be identified, recorded and tagged. The tag should be fitted using a suitable tie and in a position adjacent to or on the joint.

The person who breaks the joint(s) should mark up the tag identification numbers on a copy of the relevant isometric or P&ID and the corresponding Joint Database or Register being used to control and record activity. The isometric or P&ID and register should be controlled by the relevant designated person. These records complement the leak test certificate and provide an audit trail.

Upon the completion of each stage of the job (inspection, assembly, tightening and testing) the responsible person should record the name against that stage on the Joint Control Form and register. The tag is updated to match the records and the relevant section returned to the control room. The portions of tag remaining on the joint must clearly indicate the current status.

Once testing of the joint has been satisfactorily completed, the removable insert/part of the tag must be returned to the job co-ordinator. Leaving only the root of the tag attached to the joint indicating the joint is ready for service. The task completion should be recorded in the work pack and Flange Database when all joint tag bodies are returned; indicating that all work has been completed. This can be checked against the permissions required for restarting the plant.
Testing under pressure and Plant start-up should be prevented until all the tag inserts are signed off and returned to allow sign-off of the job.
After start-up and while the root of the tag remains attached, search teams should patrol the disturbed area and inspect tagged joints for leaks and seeps. Any leaks or seeps should be reported to a nominated supervisor.

The root of the tag should be left on the joint until the operation is satisfied that the joint is not likely to leak (normally 48 hours after start-up.) During that period the tag makes leak searches more effective.

Examples of multipart tags are shown in Fig1:

Tags can be designed to suit your site, from basic brass tags to multi tags all with unique numbers.

The JIMS Dashboard (Fig 2 below) gives an overview of joints and their status.

Click the image to enlarge

JIMS – allows for the recording of a large set of metadata including metrics relating to how the joint should be tested post-assembly along with expected values during the test where applicable
The system can also be used to capture who completed each stage of the joint integrity maintenance process and when. The interface also supports ‘multi-editing’ of joint data, where many joints share similar properties or were taken through a specific stage by the same person to make data input as efficient as possible.

Click to enlarge

JIMS can then be used to record:

  • Assembly, break out, reassembly, inspection, controlled tightening and testing, with results and measurements taken, where appropriate
  • Details of personnel involved in assembly, inspection, tightening and verification and the equipment and procedures used
  • Records of subsequent disassembly, inspection, re-assembly, tightening and testing during operation and maintenance of the asset
  • Records of any modification, exceptions or deviation from standards with the joint
  • The system should record the individual activities on a joint and store a certificate or associated procedures
  • The system should also store completion activities at work/test pack level to enable interface or update of completions/commissioning systems

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