At its annual conference held in Ottawa, the Canadian Gas Association (CGA) recognized Utilities Kingston with a ‘Public Safety Leadership Award.’
The conference took place on Tuesday, Mar. 5, 2019, and Utilities Kingston was one of five utilities companies recognized by the CGA’s three annual Safety Awards. The awards note “achievements that advance the industry’s journey toward a systemic and dedicated approach to health and safety management,” according to a press release from Utilities Kingston and the CGA.
“Our staff is committed to preventing damage to utility lines. Safety is always our top priority. We have implemented safe work processes and checks – and we have promoted awareness among contractors and the community. We’re very proud of this work and of this award,” said Jim Keech, president and CEO of Utilities Kingston.
On hand in Ottawa to accept the award on behalf of Utilities Kingston were Jim Ingram, subforeperson, service and gas operations, and Mike Pritchard, damage prevention coordinator.
The CGA also recognized AltaGas Utilities, CMH Underground Utilities, Union Gas, and TransCanada Corporation for their safety leadership in the categories of worker, employee and vehicular safety, as well as lifetime achievement.
According to Utilities Kingston, the number of third-party ‘gas hits’ (instances of damage to gas lines) has decreased significantly in its service area.
Number of ‘gas hits’ in the Utilities Kingston Service area by year
2016 – 22 hits
2017 – nine hits
2018 – nine hits
Utilities Kingston attributes this success to these factors:
- A strong internal culture and dedication to damage prevention.
- Gas construction and locating staff spreading the word about how to prevent damage to gas lines.
- Promotional campaigns that increased public awareness of how to avoid damaging gas lines (e.g. urging customers to call to locate underground utility lines before they dig).
- Staff knowledge of multiple utility infrastructure and fast response (average 20-minute) to attend to gas lines damaged by a third party.
- Accurate internal information and infrastructure mapping.
- A proactive approach to locating private infrastructure, ensuring it receives the same attention to safety as municipal infrastructure.
“On behalf of the Canadian Gas Association, I want to congratulate each recipient for their ongoing work to maintain the highest standards of safety and security for both the public and their colleagues,” said Timothy Egan, president and CEO of CGA.
“I believe it is important we recognize that the natural gas distribution industry is committed to the safe, secure, reliable, and environmentally responsible delivery of natural gas to all its customers.”