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PSMS Lessons Learned - Procedures - June 2024

26 Jun 2024

Following Procedures Ensures Safety in Gas and Electric Operations


Procedure conformance is a crucial aspect of PSMS Operational Control in the gas and electric distribution industry. It prevents incidents, ensures safety, and maintains operational efficiency. Moreover, it ensures compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, helping to avoid fines, penalties, and legal liabilities.

Procedures include job-specific risk assessments and mitigation strategies, allowing operators to identify potential hazards early and take preventive measures. Regularly reviewing and updating these procedures with input from stakeholders, including field technicians, enhances their effectiveness. This process integrates lessons learned from incidents or near misses, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and adaptation to new technologies and operational challenges.

Ultimately, following procedures is about more than operational discipline; it's about protecting employees, safeguarding the environment, and ensuring the reliable delivery of energy services to customers and stakeholders.

Description of Event:

An electric pole was installed near a 750 PSIG gas line without oversight from the gas operations company. Despite the Damage Prevention Technician notifying the Electric Company that coordination with the Gas Company was necessary before installing the pole near a critical gas facility, the required notification was not made according to procedures

Root Cause(s) and Contributing Factor(s):

Electric company personnel did not follow proper procedures for notifying the gas organization.

Key Corrective Actions:

The Gas employee noticed the pole was installed near a critical gas facility & reported this to the Gas Supervisor following see-something-say-something protocols.


Key Lessons Learned:

  • If you notice excavation work near a critical facility without oversight, stop the work and notify the immediate Supervisor.
  • Always follow company procedures regarding third-party excavations near high pressure pipelines.
  • An Operator Qualified person is to be present while excavation is being performed.
  • These leading practices apply to internal company operations as well as situations where contractors from outside the company are performing work.
  • Damages from internal company operations are completely avoidable and PSMS principles apply across organization lines.

Remember, the reverse situation could have easily occurred, where a gas employee conducted excavation work near critical electric infrastructure, such as subsurface cables, substation grounding grids or an arc prevention system for transmission towers along a shared gas/electric right-of-way. PSMS procedure conformance, situational awareness and see-something-say-something-do-something procedures work together across the energy delivery system to control risk – it’s just common sense!