Page 18 - Alabama 811 Magazine 2022 Issue 1
P. 18

Ialways enjoy watching a good football game. It’s a chance to
take a firsthand look at a group
of individuals coming together
to achieve victory by fundamentally executing plays in their game plan. It takes extensive planning, cooperation and coordination to pull off a win.
This type of teamwork takes place thousands of times a year between hazardous material transmission pipeline representatives and individuals and crews tasked with safely excavating across buried pipelines.
Safely digging on or across a hazardous material pipeline right-of-way takes teamwork. These lines often contain volatile liquids or natural gas under extreme pressures. Each step of the process must be executed by both pipeline representative and excavation crew. Both halves of this team want to be as safe and productive as possible. When the team makes a winning game plan and each player on the team executes their assignments, the team wins.
Here are just a few examples of the plays executed during the ROW crossing:
Planning and Preparation
Making a winning game plan is a crucial part of any sport or project. Projects near the pipeline that may involve land modification, like parking lots or drainage ditches, require expert engineering in planning and implementation to ensure pipeline integrity and safety. There may be a conflict between the current location of the pipeline and the needs of the land modification project. The project
planning process may indicate the need to relocate the pipeline or alter the land modification project. A plan should be developed and provided to the pipeline operator well in advance of breaking ground on the project.
Team Meeting
Any time excavation takes place on a pipeline ROW, a pipeline representative must be present. This pre-excavation meeting allows pipeline tech to
lead a team meeting with the crews performing the work. During this face- to-face, the team makes a game plan prior breaking ground so everyone is on the same page. For many operators, this is also the time that a ROW
permit or agreement is presented which documents and confirms a clear understanding. Normally, if excavation is within 25 feet of the pipeline, the pipeline technician must monitor the excavation at planned intervals. When excavation is within 10 feet of a pipeline or crossing the pipe, the technician must be there to observe the excavation and backfill.
Clear and Concise Communication
Players on a football field constantly communicate during the game. The quarterback often calls an audible, the defensive players communicate when they see certain formations to insure they are all on the same page. Clear and concise communication between the excavation crew and pipeline representative is critical for a win.
Critical information is also communicated from the side lines and press box during the game. This
information provides the team with the best chance to be successful.
Providing the location of the dig
site, the type of work and contact information to the regional 811 notification center is crucial prior to beginning any ROW crossing. When the pipeline representatives receive
the notifications, they begin their research to see if a potential conflict exists. If no conflict exists, the pipeline technician will provide a positive response back to the caller of the one call request. If there is a conflict, the pipeline technician notifies the caller
of the notification to arrange an onsite meeting with the crew prior to breaking ground on the right of way. In some cases the caller of the notification is
not actually the person or foreman
in charge of the excavation crew. It is critical that the positive response or the request for a meeting is acknowledged by the caller and passed on to the foreman of the job. I have heard several stories of communication gaps that have led to both damage to the pipeline or a close call due to unauthorized excavation on the right of way.
A Few Rules of Engagement
Similar to rules of a game, there are very strict rules and regulations when it comes to crossing pipeline rights- of-way. Similar rules of engagement are found when excavation takes place on or across a railroad ROW. These rules are in place to keep workers
and the general public safe because both railroads and pipelines transport hazardous materials.
For your safety here are a few commonsense rules to follow:
16 • Alabama 811 2022, Issue 1
It Takes Teamwork
By Bob Nighswonger

   16   17   18   19   20