Pipelines continue to be safe however National Energy Board concerned with increase in worker injuries



    CALGARY, July 3 /CNW/ - Pipelines are operating safely but a spike in
workplace injuries is cause for concern says a new report issued by the
National Energy Board (NEB) today.
    According to the NEB's annual Focus on Safety and Environment: A
Comparative Analysis of Pipeline Performance 2000-2006, for the ninth year in
a row, there were no fatalities on NEB-regulated pipelines.
    For the fourth year in a row, there were no ruptures on NEB-regulated
pipelines. A rupture, which is a loss of containment that impairs the
operation of the pipeline, can cause explosions, fire and even death. Between
1991 and 2002, an average of 2.5 NEB-regulated pipelines ruptured every year.
This improvement is primarily the result of integrity management programs,
which have been compulsory since 1999.
    However, the report also said that pipeline workers were twice as likely
to suffer a workplace injury in 2006 than they were in 2005. The injury rate
for workers on NEB-regulated pipelines more than doubled from 0.7 injuries for
every 100 full time equivalent workers in 2005 to 1.5 injuries for every 100
full time equivalent workers in 2006. The injury rate for workers on
NEB-regulated pipelines in 2006 was the highest since 2001.
    The report points to issues such as the lack of or inadequate training,
worker fatigue, level of experience and high turnover rates in the red-hot
pipeline industry as possible contributing factors to the jump in pipeline
worker injuries.
    Although the National Energy Board sees room to improve the number of
injuries on the job, the pipeline industry is still one of the safest in
Canada. Statistics published by Human Resources and Social Development Canada
show that among federally-regulated industries, only the banking sector has a
lower injury frequency than the pipeline industry.
    "While pipelines are by far the safest method of transporting energy
across the country, the National Energy Board is understandably concerned with
this trend," Sheila Leggett, Acting Chair, National Energy Board said.
    "We are pleased to note there were no fatalities on NEB-regulated
pipelines in 2006 for the ninth consecutive year. However, this report points
to the need for increased vigilance on our part through compliance activities,
such as inspections and audits, to ensure the companies we regulate are
committed to implementing a culture of safety. Ultimately, we want everyone
who works on NEB-regulated facilities to be able to make it home to their
families at the end of the day."
    In 2006, 37 incidents related to safety, pipeline integrity and the
environment were reported on the 45,000 kilometres of pipeline regulated by
the National Energy Board. For the fourth consecutive year, there were no
ruptures on NEB-regulated pipelines. The most commonly reported incidents were
gas pipeline releases.
    The report also takes a look at leaks and ruptures on liquid pipelines.
While there were twice as many liquid releases involving more than 1,500
litres in 2006 than there were in 2005, the total amount of liquid petroleum
product involved in these incidents was nearly 14 times lower than the
2000-2006 average. Four liquid releases involving 2.5 cubic metres of
petroleum product were reported to the NEB in 2006. Reducing ruptures,
releases, leaks, and spills is an important step in protecting the
environment.

    The NEB is an independent federal agency that regulates several parts of
Canada's energy industry. Its purpose is to promote safety and security,
environmental protection, and efficient energy infrastructure and markets in
the Canadian public interest, within the mandate set by Parliament in the
regulation of pipelines, energy development and trade.

    This news release, a fact sheet and the Focus on Safety and Environment -
A Comparative Analysis of Pipeline Performance Report are available on the
Board's Internet site at www.neb-one.gc.ca under What's New!





For further information:

For further information: Sarah Kiley, sarah.kiley@neb-one.gc.ca,
Communications Officer, Telephone: (403) 299-3633, TTY (teletype):
1-800-632-1663; For a copy of Focus on Safety and Environment - A Comparative
Analysis of Pipeline Performance: National Energy Board, Library, Telephone:
(403) 299-3561, Email: library@neb-one.gc.ca


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