How is the pipeline industry doing when it comes to safety?

Pipeline operators are focusing on improving safety in a number of areas. For worker safety, injury frequency has decreased steadily between 2003 and 2015. And between 2011 and 2015, 99.999 per cent of liquids and natural gas were transported safely by CEPA members. While pipelines are the safest method of transportation, we want to be safer. Our goal is zero incidents, so we are working hard to get that number to 100 per cent.

Improving worker safety

By building a strong culture of safety in the pipeline industry, safety has steadily improved. Members’ leadership and training, site supervision, safe work sites and continuous improvement results in a very safe environment for the 14,000 people working directly for CEPA members.

Worker safety continues to improve.

CEPA Health and Safety statistics 2003-2015:

Health & Safety Table

Working to decrease pipeline incidents

In 2015, a total of 16 barrels of liquid product spilled on CEPA members’ rights-of-way (equivalent to just over nine average-sized bathtubs that are completely filled). There were no significant liquids incidents and one significant natural gas incident. Pipeline safety continues to advance thanks to CEPA member programs aimed at ramping up pipeline inspections and leak detection, in conjunction with programs to advance the reliability, design and monitoring of pipelines, prevent damage to pipelines, and enhance emergency preparedness and response.

CEPA member pipeline integrity performance

CEPA-Member-Table_v21
Source: CEPA Composite Indicators

Notes

Failure Incident: Any unplanned release of product due to a failure of a pipe.

Significant Failure Incident: A failure incident that includes one or more of the following:

  1. Caused a serious injury or fatality
  2. Caused a liquid release of greater than 8 m3 (50 US barrels)
  3. Produced an unintentional ignition or fire
  4. Occurred as a rupture

Incident frequencies are expressed as the number of incidents per 1000-km-years of service.

You Asked

How closely are pipelines monitored? Is there daily visual or aerial inspections of all pipeline routes? Are there pressure and flow meters along all lines hooked up to valves that can automatically close if there is a sudden drop in pressure or flow from the readings further up the lines? - Graham
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