Safety Tips for Workers in the Oil and Gas Pipeline Industry

Canada’s oil and gas industry provides crucial services to homes and businesses across the country—and even across the world. Each of Canada’s provinces generates billions of dollars of revenue in oil and gas alone, and oil and gas gives more than 550,000 Canadians a steady job.


Because this industry contributes so much to the Canadian economy and livelihood, safety is one of its top priorities. Safety problems don’t happen often in the pipeline industry, but when they do, catastrophe often results. When safety standards fall, pipeline workers, Canadian citizens, the economy, and the environment all suffer.

If you work in the oil and gas industry, both you and your employer have crucial roles to play in terms of safety. In past blog entries, we’ve given you tips on avoiding dangerous pipeline problems and overviews of Canada’s pipeline standards and regulations.

In this blog, we’ll tell you specifically what your company and you should do to ensure optimum pipeline safety at all times. While your employer should have given you thorough safety trainings and instructions, this blog should serve as a useful refresher on some key pipeline safety aspects.

What Your Company Should Do

First of all, your employer has an obligation to keep you and everyone on your team safe. This means you deserve to work in safe conditions and around safe pipelines. According to the Pipeline Safety Act, your employer also has an obligation to the Canadian community at large. The Pipeline Safety Act ensures that companies operating pipelines must:

  • Have a certain amount of financial resources available for immediate emergency response.
  • Remain responsible for abandoned pipelines.
  • Allow the government to seek compensation for any environmental damage.

The National Energy Board, which regulates all of Canada’s pipelines, has doubled its amount of annual pipeline inspections. It also doubled the amount of pipeline audits that occur each year to find and stop potential safety problems before they become dangerous.

In order to comply with these guidelines, your company might currently engage in the following practices.

1. Frequent Non-Destructive Testing
Techniques like visual, magnetic particle, x-ray, and ultrasonic tests can identify weak spots in your pipelines. This crucial process detects issues before they blossom into major problems.

2. Employee Trainings
Your employer should commit to providing you with thorough on-the-job training. Each employee should have familiarity with best safety practices and know what to do in an emergency situation. You should also receive training on how to protect yourself while you work outdoors, which can include avoiding heatstroke, frostbite, and more.

3. Correct Construction and Maintenance Practices
As an employee, you and the company you work for have a responsibility to correctly construct any new pipelines and properly maintain current pipelines. Each company employs operators who constantly monitor the pipelines.

4. Public Awareness
Anyone who owns property near a pipeline should know about it. Pipeline operators are often responsible for notifying nearby landowners and placing signs with emergency contact information. Home- and business-owners need to know what to do in the event of an emergency and how to act if pipeline damage occurs on their property.

Information like this also helps third-party excavators avoid damaging a pipeline during construction.

What You Should Do

Above anything else, you should follow your employer’s instructions and national safety regulations that you already know about. If pipeline maintenance is a key part of your job, you already know what to do to make your pipeline function smoothly. While you perform your job, be aware of these general safety tips that apply to most pipeline employees:

1. Stay Alert
Unfortunately, human error still contributes to pipeline accidents across the globe. The human error component frequently comes from third-party excavators who don’t know how close they are to a pipeline. However, tiredness on the job can also lead pipeline operators and maintenance workers to make costly mistakes.

Before your shift, do everything you can to get a good night’s sleep. If you don’t feel well or are distracted, notify your co-workers or boss. Taking good care of yourself will help you stay alert while you work. You’ll be better prepared to notice pipeline problems, which can help you prevent a dangerous accident.

2. Follow Regulations
Every company has certain safety regulations and protocols that employees should adhere to. Make sure you thoroughly understand your company’s regulations, your country and province’s regulations, and all key aspects of your job.

If you notice anyone shirking their responsibilities or disregarding regulations, you have a duty to report them—regardless of who they are. Your precision and exact adherence to regulations will keep you and everyone around you safe.

3. Stay Safe
As you work, take care of yourself. This might mean that you bundle up for cold weather, including wearing warm boots, thick socks, and warm gloves. It could also mean that you wear sunscreen, bug spray, protective clothing, and a hat during the summer. Always drink enough water on the job. If you protect yourself, you’ll be better prepared to do your job and help others in an emergency.

What Now?

For more tips on how non-destructive testing can keep you safe and how you can stay safe while you work, check out the rest of our blog posts.