EWN Blog

 
April 28, 2015

Industry Evolution: New OQ Task Requirements

OPERATOR QUALIFICATION: DEFINITION OF A ΓÇ£COVERED TASKΓÇ¥ The OQ NPRM proposes to change the OQ Rule criteria for what constitutes a “covered task” from the current 4-part test to a much broader 2-part test. Currently, a covered task is defined as follows: (1) Is performed on a pipeline facility; (2) Is an operations or maintenance task; (3) Is performed as a requirement of this part; and (4) Affects the operation or integrity of the pipeline. Under the pending NPRM, instead of determining a covered task by the 4-part test, PHMSA proposed to define a covered task as any maintenance, construction or emergency response task (part one) the operator identifies as affecting the safety or integrity of the pipeline facility (part two). PHMSA’s assertion is that the 4-part test omitted important tasks, such as all construction tasks on new pipelines and certain operation and maintenance tasks not specifically required under 49 CFR 192 or 195. Recommendation from the Joint GPAC and LPAC Session on June 1, 2016: PHMSA proposed a┬ánew definition of covered and emergency response tasks were not adopted by the PACs. Instead, the PACs voted to retain a modified version of the current 4-Part test for covered tasks. Accordingly, […]
January 23, 2015

Training: Cold Stress and Related Dangers

Cold stress can be an issue for workers that are required to labor in any type of cold environment for an extended amount of time. During cold temperatures, the human body works harder to maintain a consistent internal temperature. According to OSHA, cold stress occurs when an individual’s core (or internal) temperature is lowered by a reduction in the skin’s temperature as a result of exposure to weather elements. Prevention is the most important key to successfully combating cold stress and the related dangers. Prevention is a shared responsibility between employers and workers. Employers can provide worker training on how to prevent, recognize, and react to cold stress illnesses and injuries in the workplace. Additionally, employers should provide engineering controls, establish safe work practices, policies, and procedures, and provide warm break areas. However, employees must dress properly and use the proper PPE to effectively prevent cold stress illnesses and accidents. Although cold temperatures play a significant role in cold stress, there are other factors that contribute to the impact and severity of cold stress. These factors include wind chill, level of moisture, level of preparedness (both with dressing appropriately and first aid training), and worker’s personal health and physical condition […]
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 […]
EWN Newsletter

×
Ask an Expert
×
Ask an Expert
×
Ask an Expert
×
Ask an Expert
×
Ask an Expert
×
Interested in a Career at EWN
×
Interested in a Career at EWN
Upload Resume:
×
Interested in a PSMS
×