How to fix Canada’s safety infrastructure
A federal government report on hydraulic equipment Safety Equipment Canada, a watchdog that is tasked with overseeing the safety of Canada’s 1.3 million natural gas pipelines, says the industry needs to invest in “significant improvements” to its safety infrastructure.
The National Energy Board of Canada (NEB) issued the report Tuesday, saying its latest assessment showed that Canada’s natural gas pipeline safety infrastructure is “weak, inadequate and largely unresponsive to modern threats and technological advancements.”
The NEB said the problem lies in two main areas:1.
Lack of training and coordination.
The NEB found that while there is no national standard for training or certification for pipeline operators, training in the safety aspects of the process and monitoring of operators’ performance is a high priority.
The report found that only half of the NEB’s Pipeline Safety Officer Program, which certifies pipeline operators and their workers, is being used.
The rest is being provided through a voluntary national accreditation process.2.
Lack or insufficient funding.
The study found that Canada lacks funding for training and certification, and that the NEF had not completed its “safety monitoring and assessment” phase, meaning it has not made progress in training and certifying pipeline operators.
The NEF report recommends that the Canadian government increase its annual funding for pipeline safety and training, and create a national pipeline safety fund that would be dedicated to the training and performance of pipeline operators through the NEBF.
The report also calls for increased pipeline safety funding from the federal government.
“It is critical that Canada maintains a strong pipeline safety record,” the NEBI wrote.
“Our industry has a very high level of safety.”
The report says that the majority of pipeline incidents in Canada occur in remote areas of the country, where safety is a major issue, such as in the northern part of the province of Alberta.
The agency said the lack of a national safety infrastructure “creates significant risks to pipeline safety for the safety, integrity and performance and health of the Canadian people and communities.”
The recommendations are expected to be made public next month, and could provide further impetus for the industry to improve its safety.