Are You Aware?

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Areas of pipeline construction and existing oil and gas production facilities can be tempting for the curious to explore. They are often populated with moving pieces of heavy machinery that may beep, spin and lift large objects. The sites can be sources of curiosity for those who are unfamiliar with them and with what it takes to produce the energy resources we have all come to depend on. While it is natural to want to take a closer look, doing so can be hazardous.

It is important for anyone near active or abandoned oil or natural gas production and pipeline facilities to have a general awareness of the dangers associated with these operations and the actions that should be taken or avoided when in their proximity. This is not because production sites or pipelines are of a particular or increased risk to the population. Instead, it is because the activities of the general population can pose a threat to the integrity of the equipment and could result in potentially serious consequences. Specific safety precautions must be taken at these facilities. Only company personnel and authorized contractors should have access to such areas.

Many residents and community leaders may be unaware of the existence of pipelines in their neighborhoods and communities even though pipeline operators and PHMSA have made educating the public, emergency responders, excavators and government officials a priority. It is the industry’s goal to explain the purpose and reliability as well as to promote pipeline safety messages through education. Pipeline operators want everyone living and working near oil and gas facilities to have the information necessary to recognize and respond to a release. The effort also seeks to bring a greater awareness of the existence of pipeline facilities to the public and to convey the message that certain activities should be avoided near these areas.

There are several easy steps you can take to ensure your safety around oil and gas facilities:

–Know where production sites and pipelines are located
–Know how to contact the operators
–Always call 811, and wait the required time before you excavate
–When developing land near pipeline facilities, consult and coordinate with the operator on land-use planning decisions
–Report any damages to the pipeline – no matter how minor – including scratches to the coating or anomalies like dents or gouges, to the operator

You should always avoid:

–Building structures on pipeline rights-of way
–Touching, climbing on or interfering with production and/or pipeline related facilities
–Digging around or near a pipeline facility without calling 811 and having a representative of the pipeline company present
–Entering a production or pipeline facility property without proper permission