UK Workers at Risk from Pipeline Danger

July 5, 2024
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Linewatch, a high pressure oil and gas pipeline safety awareness group, has released an infringement report for data collected throughout 2023. Linewatch focuses on preventing pipeline accidents by raising awareness and encouraging safe working practices.

The report focuses on the number and cause of ‘infringements’ reported by members of Linewatch. Linewatch defines infringements broadly and includes anything from people working near pipes without relevant permissions to the direct damaging of pipelines.

Overall, 2023 saw a 15% reduction in total reported infringements from 316 to 268. The report highlights that landowners were the group that caused the most infringements, with 38% of all infringements reported, closely followed by contractors at 30%. Excavation and fencing jobs were the activities that caused the most infringements, which is in line with landowners and their contractors completing work on their lands.

The findings of the report will influence Linewatch’s policy over the next year. They say they intend to:

  • Identify and engage with repeat infringers.
  • Continue engagement with agricultural organisations.
  • Use social media to increase Linewatch’s presence.
  • Collaborate with utility and agricultural organisations.
  • Expand their e-learning platform to include an agricultural version.
  • Contact all high-risk and repeat offenders from previous years.
  • Improve reporting within the infringement database.

There are a number of actions and precautions that you can take in order to stay safe when completing work near pipelines. First of all, regardless of the work being completed, the LSBUD (Line search before you dig) website should be used to identify any pipelines nearby. Additionally, they can be identified by pipeline markers. If any pipes are present, it is important to contact the pipeline operator; some pipelines are less than 900 mm below the ground. This is also a legal requirement if any planned work is taking place within 50 metres of an oil, gas, or chemical pipeline. In the event of an emergency and a pipeline leak, you should remove all personnel from the vicinity, extinguish any naked flames, shut down all working plant in the immediate area, contact emergency services, and call the pipeline operator. If a pipeline is damaged but no leak is caused, it is still important to report the damage to the pipeline operator.

If you have any questions or would like support with managing issues at your workplace, please speak to your usual contact or get in touch using the form below.