Many pipelines contain natural gas, oil, biofuels or other hazardous substances. This creates the potential for fiery accidents involving explosions and spills. While it’s true that pipes carry fuels more safely than other modes of transportation, no one should overlook the importance of pipeline safety training. Bloomberg reports that nearly 9,000 accidents occurred during the past three decades. Each event was reported because it involved death, major injuries, substantial leakage, fire, explosion or damages exceeding $50,000. It’s crucial for operators to take steps aimed at preventing as many of these disasters as possible.
The above-mentioned incidents triggered almost 2,600 injuries and killed more than 540 people. When a line ruptures, workers may suffer severe burns. Shrapnel from explosions could wound pipeline personnel and local residents. Fires frequently result in the destruction of nearby property as well. Accident-related damage totaled more than $8 billion over a 30-year period, according to Bloomberg. The losses often go beyond short-term repair and medical expenses. For example, victims may file lawsuits seeking compensation for permanent disabilities. A pipeline operator is likely to face major cleanup, equipment, public relations and legal costs after an accident. The authorities might investigate and issue fines if they discover any regulatory violations.
It’s vital to consider both the immediate outcome of a pipeline failure and the long-term impacts. A spill may have less obvious effects that nonetheless result in considerable harm. Leakage could contaminate nearby aquifers and soil. Hazardous fluids have the potential to pollute adjacent bodies of water. Spilled liquids may kill aquatic wildlife as they coat the shores of a stream, lake or sea. For instance, a 2020 pipeline accident polluted an aquifer beneath the Blanco River in Texas. This made it impossible for nearby homeowners to continue using water from their wells. The company had to suspend its project and faced regulatory action from the state and federal governments.
Operators must recognize that insurance can’t always provide sufficient protection. A recent pipeline leak in California represents a cautionary tale. The spill polluted seawater and beaches with crude oil, prompting waterfront home and business owners to take legal action against the energy company. Seafood sellers and harvesters did the same. After about two months, federal authorities issued criminal charges against the operator and accused it of negligence. They alleged that the company lacked sufficient staff to maintain its pipeline. The indictment also claimed employees didn’t have enough training to use the firm’s leak detection equipment correctly, according to the Los Angeles Times.
It’s not realistic for any industry to prevent every harmful incident. Some spills happen because of events beyond the operator’s control, such as earthquakes, wildfires and vehicle crashes. Nevertheless, leaks and explosions are often avoidable. Pipeline Technology Journal reports that human error causes serious accidents in rising numbers. American pipelines established between 2012 and 2017 have failed at higher rates than any other lines installed during the last century. Numerous leaks occur due to improper installation. This data suggests that many operators need to make safety a higher priority. It’s crucial to maintain equipment regularly and hire enough employees. Firms must also provide their staff with comprehensive training while consistently emphasizing the importance of accident prevention.
It’s vital to understand how to install or tap a pipeline correctly. At the same time, workers should know what to do when unexpected issues arise. The right pipeline training teaches personnel to recognize and address problems before they result in catastrophe. Staff members must learn about all of the different events, defects and mistakes that can cause a line to fail. For example, a corroded pipe could rupture more easily in a hurricane. It’s also important for managers to understand how to determine if workers have the right qualifications to perform complex tasks. Federal law calls for operators to use certain methods to verify and document job credentials.
The bottom line is that proper training prevents serious injuries, environmental disasters and financial losses. It can truly make the difference between success and failure. If your company recognizes the importance of pipeline safety training but needs help with implementation, turn to Energy Worldnet. We offer a comprehensive pipeline inspector safety training program and up-to-date instructional courses for supervisors, inspectors and other personnel. The experts at EWN could also evaluate your firm’s existing safety program and identify effective ways to improve. Energy Worldnet benefits from more than 25 years of experience, so you can count on our professional trainers to deliver meaningful results. Please contact EWN today for further details on our services.