Safety Focus of the Week: Excavation around Flammable Gas Pipelines
In the past couple of weeks we’ve discussed Digsafe and Planning for an Excavation. This week we are continuing on the excavation theme with a focus towards excavation around flammable gas pipelines.
Many of our excavations occur around or near natural gas pipelines, which require special attention for a variety of reasons:
- Natural gas (and propane) are highly flammable and explosive which can cause extreme property damage, injuries, and even death to construction workers and the public.
- Frequently, the utility owner desires to be on site during our excavation as we work around the gas utility to verify that the excavation activities do not affect the pipeline.
- HDPE pipes and special coatings on steel pipes can be damaged even from hand shoveling. Even minor nicks, cuts, and abrasions should be directed to the utility owner for evaluation.
- Tension on a gas pipe can cause joints or service connections to break beyond the excavation. If you accidentally pull on a gas line by bumping it with equipment, then call the gas company immediately.
If you suspect that you have struck a gas line causing a release of gas, then call 911 immediately (from a safe distance) and secure the scene for our workers and the public. Make sure you notify the 911 dispatcher that you have struck a gas line. The fire department should notify the gas company. However, we should call also the gas company immediately after the 911 call.
Our local gas company is Vermont Gas Systems: 802-863-4511.