Oil and gas pipeline work is plagued with danger, despite the remarkable opportunities of meeting great and interesting people, making good money, and working outdoors. Operating heavy equipment, navigating the work site, and working with high-pressure equipment like pipelines involve many risks. That’s why pipeline safety regulation is crucial for everyone involved.
However, minding and following safety regulations can help mitigate these risks and help save lives. But unfortunately, some accidents are not the fault of pipeline workers. Some oil and gas firms may skimp on adequate employee safety training or perform sloppy equipment maintenance and repair while bypassing other vital precautions.
This is why every pipeline worker must know that their safety at the work site is ultimately in their hands. Taking safeguards on your own will help preserve your life and protect others.
This article covers pipeline safety regulation that you should be mindful of so you can know how to avoid accidents.
The Goal of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration
The primary goal of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is zero pipeline accidents. Its oversight philosophy is based essentially on three fundamental tenets:
- Establish minimal safety standards and enforcement actions against operators that fail to comply with these standards.
- Ensure every operator understands and efficiently manages the risks linked with their pipelines. This includes taking appropriate actions in order to prevent pipeline accidents and significantly minimizing the overall impact of accidents.
- Continually encourage and expect every pipeline operator to boost their performance beyond minimum compliance with stipulated regulations while building a strong safety culture.
Pipeline Safety Regulation to Order to Avoid Accidents
Therefore, here are some pipeline safety regulations to bear in mind in order to avoid accidents:
Gas Transmission Regulation
This pipeline regulation is also one of the most critical as it involves the requirements for pipeline operators to readily confirm the maximum allowable operating pressure of specific gas pipelines and expand integrity management principles.
This is crucial as it will enable pipeline operators to better understand their systems’ conditions while assessing more pipelines.
Hazardous Liquid Rule
The ‘hazardous liquid rule’ is meant to ensure that pipeline operators increase the detection and the mediation of unsafe operating conditions and mitigate the adverse effects of hazardous liquid pipeline failures.
This rule is one of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s highest priorities.
Plastic Gas Pipe Rule
The ‘plastic gas pipe rule’ was published in November 2018 and was an update to pipeline safety regulations that gave room for the modernization of pipe design, material, as well as construction standards.
This rule covers every replaced or new local gas distribution system set up and maintained with the latest pipeline technology. This is expected to significantly enhance public pipeline safety for local territories.
Directives about Hazardous Materials Transportation
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration also address the regulation of the safety of hazardous materials by every mode of transportation, including vessel, railroad, highway, and even airways.
Valve and Rupture Detection Rule
The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration also investigated rupture and leak detection. This rule focuses on improving rupture mitigation and shortening the time it takes to shut down a pipeline segment.
Pipeline operators that follow this regulation should be capable of utilizing rupture detection metrics for valve replacement in order to boost response to incidents in environmentally sensitive or populated areas.
Rupture response metrics focus only on mitigating large release events with significant potential consequences.
Safety Tips for Oil and Gas Pipeline Operators
Here are a few critical precautions every pipeline operator must adhere to:
Use Adequate and Appropriate PPE While Working
Pipeline operators or employees must use adequate and appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment). PPE is considered the last line of defense against most hazards. However, they can make a significant difference between a safe and an injured – or dead – pipeline operator.
Standard PPE for ensuring 100 percent on-site safety includes:
- Safety goggles
- Safety boots (with steel toes)
- Hard hats
Every pipeline operator is responsible for managing pipeline safety regulations for themselves and others by using the appropriate personal protective equipment to minimize risks while working with pipelines.
PPE can also be crucial during pipeline cleaning services, such as nitrogen purging in pipelines or pipeline pigging.
Inspect Every Tool or Equipment Used Onsite
It is crucial to regularly inspect and monitor every tool and equipment used on-site, including power and hand tools. They should be inspected for signs of aging, cracks, wear, and tear, etc., in order to ensure they are perfect for use.
Any defective tool should be repaired or replaced immediately to prevent creating unsafe working conditions for pipeline operators.
Engage in Frequent Pipeline Safety Regulation Training
Employers must schedule frequent pipeline safety regulations training in order to raise awareness about the on-site safety of pipeline operators. Supervisors, employees, and even managers should participate in the training. Reinforced learning is one of the most effective ways of creating a consistent safety and winning mindset in everyone.
Promote the Importance of Pipeline Safety Regulation
Pipeline safety regulations are #1 when it comes to pipeline installations and preventing hazardous situations that may cause grievous harm to operators. Supervisors and managers are responsible for instilling the consciousness that safety comes before employees’ jobs.
They can do this by showing relevant examples, applying consequences when necessary, and giving rewards. In addition, every pipeline operator on-site should have STOP WORK authority. This enables them to stop any specific procedure identified as unsafe.
Operators of Heavy-Duty Equipment Must Be Adequately Trained
Every worker operating heavy-duty machinery, such as forklifts, excavators, trucks, etc., should undergo training from time to time. In addition, they should always be briefed on the job site’s ideal job practices and procedures.
Interchanging roles between workers in this section should be heavily discouraged. Some workers possess adequate training with a particular kind of machine. Interchanging roles due to the absence of a worker may bring about unsafe conditions due to another worker’s incorrect operation of the absent worker’s machine.
The importance of sticking with pipeline safety regulation cannot be overstated. These regulations are put in place to ensure pipeline operators’ safety on-site. Therefore, adhering to them will significantly minimize dangers or hazards to the workers and the environment.