Brisbane Seminar makes pipeline safety first priority

The first session, which was opened with some brief remarks by Queensland Gas Commissioner Kay Gardiner, discussed some of the safety initiatives APIA had in progress.

Department of Primary Industries and Resources of South Australia (PIRSA) Principal Engineer – Pipelines and Policy Belinda Hayter pointed out the ways in which the AS2885 standard objectives aligned with the South Australian Petroleum and Geothermal Energy Act, described PIRSA’s role in regulating the SA pipeline industry, and discussed the regulatory changes which have been made to Part 3 of the AS2885 in order to promote continued improvement in safety.

APIA Policy Adviser Steve Davies outlined the activities of APIA’s Pipeline Corridor Committee, which was established in response to the issue of urban encroachment. He provided a detailed description of the notification zone policy the Committee hopes to legislate, how the policy can improve safety in the pipeline industry, and challenges the Committee is facing in lobbying government.

Prior to morning tea, Gas Advisory Services Director John Fleming summarised the coal seam gas (CSG) gathering lines Code of Practice, a joint safety initiative between APIA and the Plastics Industry Pipe Association (see page 114 for more details). Mr Fleming’s presentation provided details on why the Code was needed, who and what was involved, when the project started and completed, and training initiatives that would result from the Code’s implementation.

The second session began with a presentation from independent environmental consultant Wendy Mathieson who highlighted the different meanings environmental approval takes on for proponents, government, community, native title owners, engineers and construction contractors. She said the best way of resolving these differing perspectives was through early and complete disclosure of information of all parties, and team work.

Hogarth Project Management Services Managing Director Graeme Hogarth talked about safety culture and audit efficiency. Mr Hogarth emphasised that the “˜safety message’ needed to be simplified in order to ensure delivery of safety outcomes, saying that risk should be set out in simple words outlining what could happen, why it could happen, and how it can be prevented.

SEA Gas General Manager Ashley Kellett ended the second session with a presentation on APIA and the Energy Co-operative Research Centre’s (EPCRC’s) new venture into organisational safety. Through its new project, the EPCRC will examine the sociological aspects of the pipeline industry, including the impact of organisational design on the influence of public safety/pipeline integrity specialists, and work practices that lead to pipeline damage due to external interference.

After a buffet lunch, the seminar resumed with McConnell Dowell Health, Safety and Environment Manager Chris Lau emphasising the importance of safety leadership. Mr Lau provided strategies that management could adopt to improve and promote onsite safety culture, saying that “not everyone will follow procedure, but they will follow a good leader”.

Jemena Integrity Engineer James Wu offered persuasive reasons for putting APIA’s Incident Database into practice in his presentation. He explained that the database can either provide information to help companies decide where to direct their safety efforts, or give them confidence they are focusing in the right areas.

APA Group HELM Manager Neil Weatherly described the Dial Before You Dig Auto Response System, which was awarded the APIA Safety Award in 2009. Mr Weatherly said the system is highly efficient as it required little to no human interaction, provides timely information and eliminates ambiguity through its consistent automated response.

Following Mr Weatherly’s presentation, the group broke for afternoon tea before returning to hear about the community safety initiative AJ Lucas implemented during construction of the Bonaparte Gas Pipeline, which was awarded the APIA Safety Award last year. AJ Lucas representative Wayne Hargrave presented the challenges the remote location of the project posed, then described how each challenge was systematically addressed through the co-operation of AJ Lucas, APA Group and the Road Safety Branch.

The seminar ended with independent engineering consultant Chris Harvey providing a special briefing to the group
on APIA’s Pipeline Engineer Training Project, which aims to provide a clear definition of competency for pipeline engineers. Mr Harvey briefly described what had been achieved to date, where the project was next headed and how the industry could benefit from what had been produced so far.

The seminar, which was attended by over 50 industry members, was sponsored by Contract Resources, GE Oil & Gas and McConnell Dowell.

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