Risk Assessment and Preparation

We have all expressed our feeling of weariness over trying to assess just what is safe in the context of today’s world regarding COVID-19. What is interesting in the last few months is the continued discussion and opinions about risk. Risk is all about probability of harm. You know what people in general are absolutely horrible at assessing? Probability. Many people have difficulty understanding the probability involved in flipping a coin (hint: there is a 50% chance of getting heads on each and every flip no matter what the last few flips were), much less the multifaceted probability of events that could occur while building a pipeline system.

One of the problems with such intense focus on the pandemic is that it draws attention away from other areas of probability that has potentially higher severity risks that we face every day. An emergency can be defined as an urgent need for assistance or relief, often resulting from unforeseen circumstances. In reality, most emergencies are not completely unforeseen. We may be challenged to predict exactly when or where and even how severe an emergency might be, but many can be foreseen in advance with a little and a good assessment.

Preparedness is something that we as CIS Inspectors need to recognize as one of our strongest professional skill in the Oil and Gas Industry. As our nation continues to respond to COVID-19, there is no better time to step up your game and get involved than right now.

Wildfires in the West. Hurricanes in the South. Tornados in the Midwest. Racial Violence all over. Not to mention a global pandemic. Are you and your co-workers prepared on your project and ready to respond? How about at home with your family?

“Now is the time for Preparedness…Don't Stand by and Wait. Make Your Plan Today," is especially relevant given the situation of our country with the pandemic and recent devastating storms and fires.

It's simple: Be prepared. Talk with others on your project and make a plan for you and your co-workers. What are the steps that needs to happen in the event of an emergency on your jobsite? Write them down and discuss them with each other; make a contact list that you can easily retrieve in a moment’s notice.

Find resources as it relates to planning for an emergency, whether it is an injury or flooding, extreme heat or cold, hurricanes, wildfires and educate your co-workers and crews to know how to respond in an emergency.

One of our Client Company’s employees shared this anecdote about how having a preparedness plan was critical to her mother's family surviving a tornado:
In the summer of 1964, the weather in Minnesota spawned tornadoes that created havoc throughout the state. There were no cell phones to provide emergency alerts. Network television rarely broke in with approaching weather news or scrolling Tornado Watch information on the bottom of the screen. Nearly all the information you received related to weather was from the radio.

Her mother credits a junior high school teacher who took the time in an early 1960s home economics class to learn how to prepare for a storm. Everyone knew to go to the basement. Her mother – who was 17 years old at the time was home with her 10 siblings – she had put in the basement some extra food, the telephone number list that was right next to the phone upstairs, blankets and a makeshift first aid kit that her mother always had available. Mom stepped outside that fateful day, saw the sky's eerie green colors, "heard the ominous quietness" and told her brothers and sisters to get in the basement immediately. Within minutes, the entire roof was lifted off the home and all the windows shattered, sending glass everywhere and exposing the entire inside of the home to the ensuing rain and wind.

Thankfully, all 11 siblings came out of the situation unhurt.

Our ability to find information to help us prepare for events such as a tornado has certainly changed since 1964. But if it wasn't for a junior high school teacher taking the time to help others prepare, she may not even be here today, as she was born a short four years later. A moment in time to prepare can increase your odds of spending a lifetime of memories with the ones you love.

As a professional and a leader in this industry, be prepared for any emergency that you may have to deal with because seconds count.

August Near Misses

Observed an employee climbing scaffold components in order to reach a higher elevation rather than use the provided ladder. I called the employee to the ground and coached him on the proper access/egress on scaffolding. I also let his supervisor know of the observation so that the employee could receive additional training on scaffold use

While the crew was using a skid steer with an auger for drilling post holes, the auger assembly or attachment came off nearly striking one of the workers. No one was hurt, stopped work and had discussion about complacency, double checking connections and looking out for each other and speaking up if you see something that may not be correct or safe.

Contractor was loading out mats on a trailer. As the operator was loading the mats, one slid off of the forks and fell off the other side of trailer. No one was near the location.
Stopped the operator and spoke with him about slowing down with wet and muddy mats. Notified the contractors safety Rep. and discussed the issue.

A green (non-experienced) side boom operator decided to pick up a joint of pipe without ensuring that his line was directly over the pipe. He raised up the pipe and momentum swung the joint back and forth, almost striking personnel and vehicles. To keep it from happening again, a stop work was utilized and a conversation about the seriousness of the situation was had with the Foreman, operator, and swamper.

Employee using air compressor without having a safety whip checks in place on air lines stopped workers and installed whip checks.

Building contractor setting crane rail inside building lifted over another contractor causing a stop work and safety stand down. An RCA (root cause analysis) was conducted and the root cause incident was poor planning and communication between contractors. I stopped work and discussed the safety concerns and developed a safer way to set crane rail.

Contractor was hand excavating piping for heat trace wire. The ground was flow fill cement, so it was hard ground to hand dig but per the work permit and JSA that was the plan. The contractor became frustrated with hand digging and used a pickaxe and struck a live line. I did a safety stand down and stop work. We did an RCA and the root cause was improper work planning and supervision.
The contractor had kicked off Mainline welding and had decided to use cones to place the pipe on instead of wood. I gave the go ahead but told them that every 4 cones that they had to use a wood made crotch. I explained that I had seen the cones fall over before, and or sink and lean and that they were dangerous. The very 1st section was a 4 Joint drag and they didn't use any wood, I deemed it unsafe and did not allow the coating crew near it so it was skipped until someone could get back and repair it. A few hours later I went back, and the pipe had fell over with the cones. So, it very well could have happened while coating crew was working on it if I hadn't stopped this work.

The welders set up to weld fab on edge of pad in dry grass. Visited with them and discussed it would be better on other side of pad where zero vegetation was, and any sparks would travel across the pad with the wind conditions as they were. Also reminded them to have water sprayers available.

We are pleased to announce that we have partnered up with Boot Barn to offer all Applied Consultants inspectors a 15% discount on all purchases “work related” from the Boot Barn, Nation Wide. Be sure to tell them you work for Applied Consultants and use the key word: “Safety First” to receive the discount. 

API1169 Test Dates:

December 4 - 18, 2020
Registration Deadline: October 2nd, 2020

August Winners

If you have been selected as newsletter Q&A winner, please click this link and select your prize(s) from your winning category.

Mike House-Platinum
Travis Metz- Gold
Jacob Smith-Silver
Glenn Franklin- Bronze
Jason Horton- Bronze
Colby Glass- Bronze

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