The latest from the silvertooth team

January 23, 2015

Strategic Safety Programs

Organizations have changing needs, including safety needs. According to EHS Today, “the need for strategic change in safety is ambushing many organizations in today’s climate. Many organizations fail to realize in a timely manner that changing workforces require changing safety efforts.” Every year, specific employee dynamics change within an organization. New employees are hired. Seasoned employees choose retirement. As this process occurs, the commonly shared knowledge of safety procedures and expected safety behaviors can be lost or become ineffective in meeting the current needs of the ever-changing organizational dynamics. Overall workplace accidents can increase without a seemingly rational explanation. When increased accidents begin, the safety team or department becomes reactive and begin to search for solutions to solve the present problems. This can lead to a stream of spontaneous changes to correct unsafe conditions as they arise. However, a proactive and strategic safety program approach would evolve with the organization allowing for productive growth in the safest working environment possible. As we begin a new year and all other areas for strategic planning are being considered, a strategic safety plan can be developed outlining the organization’s goal definition of successful safety conditions. Revisit the current safety program and assess the […]
November 21, 2014

PHMSA Penalties Effect on Pipeline Incidents

In April of 2014, PHMSA released a statement summarizing the impact of strict enforcement on pipeline safety compliance for 2013. PHMSA proposed more than $9.7 million in civil penalties against pipeline operators who violated safety regulations the highest yearly amount since the inception of the agency. From these proposed civil penalties, PHMSA initiated 266 enforcement cases in the areas of: integrity management programs risk assessments failure prevention programs mitigation programs other regulatory violations identified during failure investigations and routine inspections PHMSA has chosen to pursue a reduction of safety violations through tougher enforcement. Tougher enforcements have led to a traceable and proven reduction in pipeline incidents and thereby an increase in pipeline safety. Since 2009, PHMSA has proposed more than $33 million in civil penalties against pipeline operators and reported a 45% reduction in serious pipeline incidents. Serious pipeline incidents, by PHMSA definition, are “those resulting in fatalities or major injuries”. With such impressive results, PHMSA will continue on the path of tougher enforcement. As recently as September 2013, PHMSA adopted new maximum penalties for pipeline operators in violation of safety regulations. The new maximum penalties are a result of the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty, and Job Creation Act of […]
October 2, 2014

PHMSA & Ebola – What’s the Connection?

PHMSA shapes the daily activity and regulatory compliance decisions of every organization in and related to the energy industry. However, PHMSA also has a global impact capable of establishing best practices for safely handling infectious substances, such as Ebola (also known as Ebola Virus Disease or EVD) contaminated items. On June 1, 2006, PHMSA published a final ruling (effective beginning October 1, 2006) revising the classification criteria and packaging requirements to consistently align with United Nations Recommendations of Dangerous Goods for Category A and Category B Infectious Substances. Category A: Infectious Substance is defined as an infectious substance in a form capable of causing permanent disability or life-threatening or fatal disease in otherwise healthy humans or animals when exposure to it occurs. Ebola is considered a Category A: Infectious Substance. Ebola can be transmitted through infected materials, infected individuals, and infected animals. Therefore, transport of infected Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), infected individuals, and infected animals is regulated by PHMSA under 49 CFR, Parts 171-180. (To review the regulation specifics, visit www.phmsa.dot.gov) Generally, these regulations apply to the medical industry. However, individuals in other industries, such as the oil and gas industry, and the general public can greatly benefit from awareness to […]
September 30, 2014

Coming Soon to Hawaii: Natural Gas

Hawaii could soon be abandoning petroleum and switching to liquefied natural gas (LNG). Hawaii officials have been searching for a way to reduce electricity costs, improve grid resiliency, and provide a low-cost alternative fuel for ground fleet and marine transportation. Imported petroleum currently supplies 90% of Hawaii’s energy, but high oil prices are causing large electricity costs. A Hawaii resident’s electric bills cost anywhere from 3 to 5 times higher (more than 30 cents per kilowatt-hour) than the average of mainland residents. The recent advances in LNG transportation could help provide quick relief for residents. Now that natural gas is being liquefied for transportation (LNG carrier), it can be transported great distances with reduced risk, which will allow non-gas producing areas such as Hawaii to take advantage of the benefits associated with natural gas such as reduced costs for home heating, cooling, or cooking, reduced fuel costs for transportation, steam heat production, electrical generation and manufacturing and industrial uses. This spring, Hawaii began importing limited quantities of LNG to be used as a backup fuel for its synthetic natural gas operations to increase the reliability of the gas supply to current utility customers. The goals for natural gas use in […]
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