The top excavation priority for nearly all pipeline operators is reducing line strikes associated with small excavators and third-parties. It is challenging to influence these reductions, yet they represent the single most significant risk to safety associated with excavation damage.
Safety and Damage Prevention departments within pipeline companies are tasked with reducing risk to the company while managing the additional hurdle of strained resources. Operators typically have a management system in place to cover first- and second-party contractors and excavators, but identification and efficient management of unknown third-party excavators remains elusive. Gold Shovel Standard can help pipeline operators influence the behavior of third-party excavators through its network, including smaller excavators that work in rural areas.
Many Safety and Damage Prevention departments within pipeline companies are concerned that the overwhelming majority of excavators – large, small, rural, urban, experienced and new – are not adequately equipped to manage their business against line strike performance.
All Gold Shovel Standard-Certified excavators are equipped with specialized software to improve performance and conduct sophisticated analysis of their damage prevention performance. They are also prepared to communicate to their pipeline customers an empirical, detailed performance history and comparison to industry benchmarks, based on crew assessment, location, type of client, individual task and many other parameters. GSS provides an opportunity for operators to reduce risk through these tools, and can also directly support Safety and Damage Prevention departments, relieving some resource constraints.
When pipeline companies and their excavators operate under a shared understanding of a Damage Prevention-Safety Management System (DP-SMS), there are fewer damages to pipelines, communities are safer, and employees go home at the of day. GSS Certification affirms a DP-SMS for program participants, increasing confidence in the safety of buried assets, and driving public and workforce safety.
Gold Shovel Standard provides a demonstrable means for reducing risk to pipelines along with a clear and simple solution for attacking damages from third-parties and small excavators. GSS also provides support for in-house damage prevention teams in the management of first- and second-party excavation contractors, including contractor safety programs, and identification of third-party contractors who may pose a threat to the network. GSS helps manage these programs more efficiently and may help maintain the reputation of both the pipeline operator and excavator in the event of an incident.
Gold Shovel Standard is easy to implement with existing resources. The program does the most significant part of the work on behalf of the member company. The current annual fee for pipeline companies is $2400.
Case Study – 38% Reduction in Third-Party Damages
In less than 33 months, Gold Shovel Standard member Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), saw a 38 percent reduction in third-party line strikes, through its partnerships to establish a Gold Shovel Standard community in the Sacramento, California region.