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Ronald Six Senior Utility Consultant Loss Control Division AEGIS Insurance Services, Inc. 201/417-2487 WRGC WRGC Natural Gas.

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Presentation on theme: "Ronald Six Senior Utility Consultant Loss Control Division AEGIS Insurance Services, Inc. 201/417-2487 WRGC WRGC Natural Gas."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ronald Six Senior Utility Consultant Loss Control Division AEGIS Insurance Services, Inc. 201/417-2487 WRGC WRGC Natural Gas Safety/ Natural Gas Safety/ Lessons Learned Lessons Learned

2 A E G I S A ssociated E EE E lectric G GG G as I II I nsurance S SS S ervices

3 Utility Mutual Insurance Company (member owned) Formed in 1975 by 22 gas utilities Electric Utilities began joining in 1977 375 members – 95% utilities and related energy AEGIS Background Information

4 Recent Natural Gas Incidents Springfield, MA Indianapolis, IN

5 12/11/2012 Nisource Natural Gas Transmission Line Explosion I-77 near Sissonville, WV

6 2/19/2013 Kansas City, MO 1 Death and 14 injuries 1/11/2013 Dallas, TX (1 death) Electric pole installation - Auger

7 Where Things Go Wrong Complacency –Weve done this job dozens of times Tunnel Vision –Not focusing on the overall picture Shortcuts –Not following the approved procedures Lack of training/inexperience –Have never experienced this situation The above highlight the importance of using Mock Emergency Drills and Emergency Response pre-planning

8 Chiropractors Office First Floor Two Apartments 2 nd Floor 7:30 PM CGI reads 10% gas in the atmosphere at the front door of this building (2 story building with a basement). Fire Department says that they can quickly get the gas readings below the LEL (lower explosive limit) by hooking up their big fan (smoke mover) and sitting it at the front door. They also suggest opening window and doors to help increase the air circulation. Is this a good idea? What would you advise the fire department?

9 Philadelphia Gas Works Incident January 11, 2011 Excerpts taken from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission report published December 15, 2011.

10 The following are excerpts from some of the AEGIS RMLLs (Review of Major Liability Losses) that can be found on the AEGIS website

11 Odor Complaints

12 Odor complaint investigations …begins with a call (What does your Public Awareness Program advise your customer to do?)

13 The Key Is Listening Not every call is a gas emergency, however, calls involving an odor complaint should be considered an emergency. Listen to the customer and ask questions in order to gather the information needed

14 While parking the family car in his attached garage, a retired 83 year-old physician lost control of his automobile and struck the concrete block foundation that supported and elevated his homes heating and hot water equipment. The impact moved the boiler about one foot from its original position. The damage was severe enough to warrant an inspection, so the doctor called his regular plumbing and heating service provider who agreed to check the unit that afternoon. The doctor then called the local gas company and explained what had happened. Incident (2004) Company Retention $200K

15 Contd. He was asked whether he smelled gas. He answered that he did not. The companys call center representative then explained that the company would not examine the damage unless he smelled gas, but if he did, he should please call back and they would gladly send someone out to his home. 90 minutes later the home exploded and the doctor and his wife were severely burned. Less than one month later, suffering from severe burns over most of his body, the doctor died. AEGIS Incurred $2.7 Million Incident (2000) Contd. Company Retention $200K

16 At times, customers and the general public seek assistance from gas utilities for situations that are not commonly encountered. Such was the case in this unusual incident. The call center representative did not recognize the potential severity of a situation involving an automobile striking the heating equipment. Listening to callers and their circumstances is critical to effectively achieve the ultimate goal of emergency response and the protection of life and property. The doctor, being 83 years old may have lost much of his sense of smell with age. The call center is the First Line of Defense What Happened?

17 Cause??? Lack of training? Inexperience? Not paying attention?

18 A homeowner contacted the gas company stating that she smelled a very strong odor of gas in the vicinity of her gas meter. The gas company sent a service technician to investigate the odor complaint. Upon arrival, the technician noticed the smell of gas as soon as he got out of his truck. He decided to put a bar hole down near the riser to check the soil atmosphere. The temperature was around 5 degrees and there was frost in the ground making it difficult to make the test hole. Incident (2005)

19 Contd. After a lot of effort, he was able to get a test hole in the ground below the frost layer. When he pulled his probe bar out of the ground, gas started blowing up through the test hole. The escaping gas was making considerable noise so he put the probe bar back in the hole. He ran back to the truck to get a shovel to dig the plastic service up in order to squeeze it off and stop the leak. As he was attempting to expose the service, approximately 30 minutes after the line was hit, there was an explosion. Two people inside of the home received minor injuries. Incident (2005)

20 Bar testing and checking the soil atmosphere for gas is a crucial part of the overall odor complaint investigation. It is necessary to make the test hole a sufficient depth in order to obtain an accurate reading, thus getting below the frost layer is essential. In this case, the bar should have been left out of the bar hole to allow the gas to vent and notifying the occupants to leave the house until the line could be shut off. The main priority is Public Safety! What Happened? What Happened?

21 Cause??? Lack of training Inexperience? The Find & Fix Syndrome?

22 An explosion and fire at a residence killed two people and severely burned three others. The home was all electric and had no gas service. On the day of the incident the homeowners daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren were visiting. That day, the homeowner noticed that a blue flame shot to the ceiling when his wife lit a cigarette. He called the fire department and was told not to light any more cigarettes and they would send someone over to check out the situation. The homeowner was not instructed to evacuate the home. While waiting for the fire department to arrive the homeowners wife wanted to have a quick cigarette, but was stopped by the husband. She persisted in her request and the husband unfortunately relented. Incident (2007) Company Retention $1Million

23 Contd. When he struck a match to light her cigarette there was a blue flash that extinguished the match. He lit a second match and the explosion occurred. Between 15-20 seconds after the initial explosion and fire a second explosion occurred ripping the roof off of the home. The gas company, which was never called prior to the incident, responded and completed a thorough leak investigation of the area. A compression coupling was found to be leaking 100 feet from the home. The homeowner claimed he did not smell gas prior to the incident. The company performed an odorant test in the area and found the gas was properly odorized. Incident (2007) Company Retention $1M

24 Contd. A laboratory examination of the components that made up the compression coupling revealed that the coupling body was mismatched at the time of manufacture resulting in an area comprising approximately twenty (20) percent of one sealing surface being left with an as- cast surface. In addition, both seals had experienced some hardening with age indicative of shrinkage. The combination a poor sealing surface and seal aging caused the coupling to leak. AEGIS Incurred $15 Million Incident (2007) Company Retention $1Million

25 If the homeowner had known of the physical indications of a natural gas release, or the fire department dispatcher advised the family to leave the home, this incident may have been prevented. Federal Code 49 CFR 192.615 paragraph (c) states that the operator shall establish and maintain liaison with appropriate fire, police and other public officials to acquaint the officials with the operators ability to respond to gas pipeline emergencies and plan how the operator and officials can engage in mutual assistance to minimize hazards to life & property. In the operators Recommended Practices (RP) 1162 the program must include provisions to educate the public, including non-customers, concerning the possible hazards associated with the unintended release of natural gas i.e odor. Lessons To Be Learned

26 Procedural Violations

27 A gas explosion and fire destroyed a single family residential home causing three fatalities. An investigation subsequent to the incident revealed localized atmospheric corrosion had progressively thinned meter set piping eventually creating a hole. The meter set was located under the front porch of the home and it is believed that leaking gas accumulated in the crawl space and basement. Company records indicated that the bare steel service line and meter set piping were installed in 1937. Similarly aged gas services and meter sets in the immediate area were replaced due to their poor condition. Records revealed that this bare steel service line and meter set had not been inspected by the gas company since 1996. Incident (2005) Company Retention $1,000,000

28 Company Retention 1 Million Part 192, Transportation of Natural and Other Gas by Pipeline: Minimum Federal Safety Standards requires piping exposed to the atmosphere to be inspected for evidence of atmospheric corrosion at least once every 3 calendar years, but at intervals not exceeding 39 months. This code mandates the inspection of all above ground natural gas piping including residential meter sets. In addition, Part 192 requires cathodically unprotected distribution lines, where electrical surveys are impractical, to be leak surveyed at least once every 3 calendar years at intervals not exceeding 39 months. If the operator had completed either of these code mandated inspections, this incident may have been prevented. AEGIS Incurred $4,594,000 Lessons Learned Lessons Learned

29 A natural gas explosion and fire caused extensive damage to a college dormitory. Seven people inside the building received minor injuries. The gas distribution company was upgrading its main and service lines to several of the universitys buildings. Two gas company work crews were responsible for completing the project. The pipefitting crew was responsible for installing piping in the dormitory basement and the construction crew was responsible for main and service construction outside the dormitory. As part of the upgrade the gas companys pipefitting crew installed a new meter set riser in the basement. Incident (2005) Company Retention $3,000,000

30 Contd. Prior to going to lunch the pipefitting crew informed the construction crew that they had completed their work and that they (the construction crew) could do their thing. The construction crew interpreted this communication to mean that it was safe for them to purge the mains and services. Unfortunately, the pipe fitters did not cap the service riser or close the riser valve. As the construction crew purged the new gas lines, gas accumulated in the basement of the dormitory due to the open riser, ignited. Causing the explosion. AEGIS Incurred $3.4 Million Incident (2005) Contd. Company Retention $3,000,000

31 This incident may have been prevented if effective communication had taken place between the pipe fitter and construction crews. When a project such as purging a distribution main is being planned, everyone involved in the project must know their responsibilities. Prior to a critical point in a project, such as the introduction of natural gas into a main or service, confirmation or verification that the correct steps have been performed. A supervisor or the individual responsible for the introduction of gas into the piping should be responsible for checking the extremities to confirm that there are no open lines. We must always guard against complacency. Lessons Learned Lessons Learned

32 A family of four died in their home as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. It was discovered that the of the homes gas fired boiler was completely blocked by packed debris including leaves, branches and sticks. The homeowner had purchased an appliance service contract for his boiler from the gas company. Sometime later the homeowner believed his boiler needed service and called the gas company. A recording of the telephone conversation between the customer and the companys service representative reveled that the customer stated that he felt there was a need for service on his boiler because of a white substance or residue that had collected outside the flue and around the boiler and he was afraid the boiler might blow up. The customer service representative told the customer to shut it off and a service call was scheduled the for the following day. Incident (2002) Company Retention $1,000,000

33 Contd. The following day, upon arrival at the customers home, the service technician, who was responding to an adjust central house heater order, advised the customer that there would be a $50.00 service charge because of the time of the year and the service request. The customer objected and said that he was not informed that there would be a charge and told the service technician that he no longer wanted the boiler inspected. The service technician left, never having entered the residence. Apparently, the service technician never asked the customer why he had called for service. Four weeks later the family was found dead due to CO poisoning. AEGIS Incurred $3.2 Million Incident (1998) Company Retention $1,000,000

34 The incident occurred because of poor communication between the CSR and the service technician and the service technician and the customer. In the first instance, the servicemans work order did not indicate that the customer had stated that he was concerned about the safe operations of the burner because of the white residue and that he was instructed to turn off the boiler. The customer was also not told about the $50.00 service charge. The serviceman apparently believed the assignment was a routine service call to clean and adjust the burner. The serviceman never asked the customer why he had called the gas company i.e. I am here to service your furnace, is that why you called? Lessons Learned

35 Odorization Issues

36 and it must be adequately documented! Odorization must be continuous (every day)

37 An explosion and fire destroyed a mobile home severely burning its occupants a man and his wife. The husband spent 44 days in the hospital undergoing 6 surgical treatments and his wife spent 77 days and underwent 12 surgeries. Incident (1996) Company Retention $1M

38 Contd. The cause of the leak was attributed to natural gas leaking from an open fuel line below the mobile home. The open fuel line was the work of a plumber hired to move the gas line. Not being viable having sufficient assets or insurance coverage he was not named as a defendant in the case. That left the local gas company as the sole defendant with the plaintiff only alleging that the gas was improperly odorized (no readily detectable odor). Incident (1996) Company Retention $1M

39 Contd. Since the gas company performed and documented an odor-level test immediately after the incident, which indicated that the gas was readily detectable at levels 3 times the federal requirement, it was believed that the allegation would be difficult to prove. Incident (1996) Contd. Company Retention $1M

40 Contd. During the trial, the odor meter used to conduct the test was introduced as evidence. When it was shown to the jury, its flexible tubing, which transports gas samples from the source into the instrument, had a distinct odor of gas; it should have borne no odor. The tubing, not being made of material intended for use with the instrument, retained odorant molecules thus the smell. Incident (1996) Contd. Company Retention $1M

41 Contd. The plaintiff argued this nullified the companys odor readings taken immediately after the incident. The jury originally found for the plaintiff and awarded $6,500,000.00. Based on the improbability of a successful appeal, the utility accepted a negotiated settlement of $4,100,000.00 AEGIS Incurred $3.1 Million Incident (1996) Contd. Company Retention $1M

42 The concept of proper operation, calibration and normal maintenance of test instrumentation consistent with their manufacturers recommendations cannot be over emphasized not only for odor meters, but combustible gas indicators, flame ionization instruments, carbon monoxide detectors, oxygen level instruments and other safety and hazard detection instruments. Calibration and training in the proper operation and maintenance of these instruments is essential. The instrument is only as good as the operator who uses it. What Happened?

43 Response To Dig-Ins

44 A contractor has snagged the 1 steel service and bowed it in the ditch. A small hole was made in the line and gas is blowing in the ditch. What would be your actions? Figure # 1 Gas Meter #6 Sewer Ditch 4 Steel Main 45 PSI ASH STREET

45 A contractor working on a highway reconstruction project struck the service line to a house, causing the service line to separate from a compression coupling near the gas main. The gas company was called at 11:15 am; a serviceman arrived on the scene at 11:45 and immediately called for a crew. Thinking the gas was venting out into the street, he sat in his truck for 20 minutes until the crew arrived. Although the damage location was only 32 feet from the incident site, no attempt was made to check nearby buildings with a combustible gas indicator for the presence of migrating gas. Incident (1998) Company Retention $5M

46 Contd. The leaking gas migrated to the house where an explosion occurred killing an elderly woman and severely burning 3 children, the explosion occurred at 1:00 pm. The children received burns to over 45% of their bodies with most of the burns occurring in the facial areas. In the settlement the contractor also paid more than $15,000,000.00 in claims. AEGIS Incurred $15 Million Incident (1998) Company Retention $5M

47 First Responder failed to recognize the gravity of the situation and made the assumption that the pulled line was leaking in only one place. The First Responders main job on a reported gas leak is to determine Where is the gas? and Is it affecting people or property? The appropriate way of determining this is with a combustible gas indicator (CGI) – Test Dont Guess! Our first priority must always be focused on Public Safety What Happened?

48 The Find and Fix Syndrome The cure for this is to ask yourself a question Where is the gas? If you can answer the question that the gas is not affecting people and it is not affecting property you are cured. You must ask yourself this question on every leak before you get into the repair mode.

49 Our main job is not finding & fixing leaks Our main job is public safety

50 AEGIS Insurance Services AEGIS Insurance Services Thank You Please join us at the AEGIS Emergency Preparedness & Response Seminar October 15-17, 2013 Indianapolis, IN Visit our website @

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