Montrose receives National Safety Council's 2019 Operational Excellence Achievement Award

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As many of you know, the Advanced GeoServices team joined Montrose Environmental Group just over a year ago. We believed that this relationship would allow us to provide our clients with access to expanded services offered by our sister companies under the Montrose umbrella and that other metrics would improve through our internal shared knowledge and experience. We are pleased to report that Montrose has just achieved another milestone together.

The Montrose Environmental Group family of companies finished 2018 with a Total Recordable Injury Rate of 0.56 which represents a 57% reduction of injuries over the past 2 years and ZERO Lost Time injuries for a second straight year! Our performance was recently recognized by the National Safety Council. Montrose was awarded their 2019 Operational Excellence Achievement Award!

Our team members are our most valuable asset and we are still striving for a ZERO accidents and injuries goal, but we are making significant progress. We share this news with you to show that we are continuing to find ways to improve performance, even behind-the-scenes.

For more information on our safety program, please contact:

Steve Kirschner, P.E.
Senior Project Consultant
610.840.9117

Tips to Stay Safe in Summer

The summer season is here and everyone needs to take extra precautions when spending time outdoors.  Safety is paramount at Advanced GeoServices.  We have compiled a quick list of tips for staying safe this summer:

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1.      Wear sunscreen

2.      Hydrate and avoid caffeinated, alcoholic, or sugary beverages

3.      Replace salt with fruit juice or sports beverages

4.      Pay attention to the weather and dressed appropriately And bring rain gear if needed

5.      Avoid heavy exertion during the warmest hours of the day

6.      Check a weather app each day for air-quality and weather alerts+

7.      Protect your eyes with sunglasses

8.      Protect your Head with a hat or a visor

9.      Use proper ladder safety

10.   Pace yourself in extreme heat conditions

11.   Be cognizant of the symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion

12.   Beware of insects and inspect for ticks and tick bites

13.   Avoid contact with poisonous plants

14.   Watch out for poisonous animals and insects

15.   When burning campfires stay in designated areas, avoid overhanging branches, use a fire ring, and keep alert for wind warnings

16.   Only barbeque on a flat, level surface and use the recommended lighters and fuel

17.   Be cautious around open water bodies and have safety gear nearby (e.g., life jackets)

18.   If operating a water craft, be sure to wear a life jacket and watch for potential storms

19.   Be alert for upcoming storms – remember that if thunder roars, go indoors. 

20.   Avoid contact with anything metal during thunderstorms

Have you thought of other tips?  If so, please share your thoughts in the comment section.

For more information on staying safe this summer, Advanced GeoServices’ Health and Safety Officer:

Bernie Beegle, CPG, P.G.
Senior Project Professional
610.840.9125

Are pipelines safe? Part I: the Pipeline in the Backyard

Pipelines have been in the headlines and on our communities’ minds, due to the region’s relatively new status as home to the world’s largest supply of natural gas (Marcellus and Utica Shale), and the expanding infrastructure needed to carry that natural resource from northeast and southwest Pennsylvania to demand centers in Philadelphia, the Gulf Coast, and Canada.  This abundance of natural gas supports the renewable power industry; natural gas is a flexible, responsive compliment to renewables that wax and wane with weather changes and the time of day.  The abundance of the resource drives down power prices, opening the door for a manufacturing renaissance in this region. Natural gas is also one of the major drivers behind a 3% nationwide drop in carbon emissions, even while the economy grew by 1.6%.

But for homeowners who are now confronted with a pipeline being routed through their property or their community, and in many cases the dual realization that a pipeline existed there all along, the question is: are pipelines safe?

There are two basic types of products being moved.  Dry gas, which is what we traditionally think of as natural gas, is compressed and used to heat homes, produce power, and fuel natural gas vehicles.  There are some companies using dry gas wells right on their property as a low carbon, clean power source for manufacturing.  For all gas transmission lines, which includes dry gas, offshore and onshore, since 1997, there has been an average of two fatalities per year and nine injuries; for more detailed information check out theUS DOT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration website.

The other main product being transported is wet gas, or natural gas liquids (NGLs) – propane, butane and ethane.  NGLs are the building block for plastics, a source of cooking and home heating fuel (propane), and vehicle fuel.  Highly Volatile Liquids (HVLs) such as propane and ethane, which are being transported by Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East pipelines, are a subset of a broader category classified as Hazardous Liquids. Hazardous liquids are a separate category from natural gas.  For pipelines carrying Hazardous Liquids onshore and offshore there have been, on average, two fatalities per year from 1997 to 2016 nationwide; the average number of injuries per year is five.  For more detail see the US Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) data chart below which shows a general decreasing trend since 2004. 
 

PHMSA Pipeline Incidents: Fatalities (1997-2016)

Do more miles of pipelines correlate with more risk?  Pipeline infrastructure expands each year.  In 2004, the US had 166,669 miles of hazardous liquids pipelines. As of 2016, the total grew to 211,150 miles, a 27% increase.  PHMSA does not analyze correlations between miles of pipeline and human and environmental risk.  The American Petroleum Institute (API), however, does.

Considering all pipelines - crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas liquids - miles of pipelines have increased by 13% over the past five years, while major (classified as larger than 500 barrels of product released) pipeline incidents per mile are down nearly a third. Incidents potentially impacting people or the environment outside of an operator’s facility are down 52 percent since 1999 (for more details see the American Petroleum Institute (API) report released in 2016). 

The Fraser Institute, an independent think tank in Canada ranked as one of the top (19th) think tanks in the world by The University of Pennsylvania, analyzed Canadian data on oil and natural gas transport, and found:

“In general, the transport of oil and gas is quite safe by all modes: pipeline, rail, and tanker, though there are differences between the modes that should be considered when developing infrastructure.”

Specifically, “pipelines suffer few occurrences (accidents and incidents)…between 2004 and 2015, pipelines experienced approximately 0.05 occurrences per million barrels of oil equivalent (Mboe) transported.”

Kenneth Green, Fraser Institute’s senior director of energy and natural resource studies and co-author of the study, summarizes the “evidence is clear—building new pipelines and shipping oil by tanker is the safest and most environmentally responsible way to get Canadian oil to global markets.”

In addition, the study finds that “while both pipeline and rail transportation of oil and gas are quite safe…pipelines continue to result in fewer accidents and fewer releases of product, when taking into consideration the amount of product moved.”

These statistics focus on operations.  Concerns about pipeline construction risks, especially with respect to drinking water, recently led to a halt in Sunoco Logistics’ Mariner East 2 Pipeline construction that was resolved by agreement with the Clean Air Council, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and Mountain Association. Discussion about risks during construction coming soon in Part II. 

To learn more, contact:

Steve Kirschner
Senior Project Consultant
610.840.9117

AGC Expands Safety Programs with ISNetworld & PICS

Advanced GeoServices is pleased to announce that we recently registered with ISNetworld, a third party verification service for vendor health, safety and insurance programs.  Corporations looking for safe and qualified vendors utilize ISNetworld as source for those vendors.  After ISNetworld reviewed our safety programs and incident records, we were awarded the highest score of “A”.   This registration, coupled with our previous registrations with E-RailSafe, a training and auditing service used by the major US railroads; and PICS, a similar corporate third party safety auditing service, validates our commitment to the health and safety of our employees, while qualifying us to provide services to many of the largest companies in the world.

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We would be honored to put our safety practices and technical expertise to  work for you.  Contact Steve Kirschner for more information.

Steve Kirschner
Senior Project Consultant
skirschner@advancedgeoservices.com
610.840.9117

Lightning Safety Tips

When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!  

If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to be struck by lightning.  Lightning can strike 10 to 15 miles away from the rain portion of the storm.  In general, lightning will travel the easiest route from the cloud to ground which means that it often strikes the tallest object.  Lightning can strike twice!  

There are 5 ways lightning can strike a person:

  1. Directly - person directly hit by lightning
  2. Side Flash  - person is alternate/parallel current path
  3. Conducted - current diverted from poorly grounded wiring
  4. Step Voltage - Radiates from ground; many livestock deaths result from step voltage each year
  5. Secondary Effects - person affected by fires, fallen trees, crushed cars as a result of lightning strikes
Lightning Safety

Tips for Lightning Safety:

  • Prepare a Lightning Safety Plan - identify a place for shelter and how much time it will take to get there. Make sure your plan allows enough time to reach safety.
  • Monitor the Weather - Look for signs of a developing thunderstorm such as darkening skies, flashes of lightning, or increasing wind.
  • Postpone Activities -  Before going outdoors, check the forecast for thunderstorms. Consider postponing activities to avoid being caught in a dangerous situation.
  • Find Shelter - If you hear thunder, even a distant rumble, immediately move to a safe place. Fully enclosed buildings with wiring and plumbing provide the best protection.  Sheds, picnic shelters, tents, under bleachers, or covered porches do not protect you from lightning.  If a sturdy building is not nearby, get into a hard-topped metal vehicle and close all the windows.   Stay   inside until 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.
  • Unplug - Unplug sensitive electronics
  • No Metal - Get rid of metal objects on your body such as coins, money clips, hair pins, jewelry, etc.  No holding onto metal objects such as fishing poles, golf clubs, ski poles, tennis rackets, and tools
  • No Open Transportation - No boats, bicycles, and motorcycles.  Avoid anything where metal comes into direct contact with your body
  • No Tall Objects -  Move away from all tall objects like poles or trees.  Do not be the tallest object standing in a field or on a hill.  
  • No Electrical or Water - Keep away from electrical equipment (including televisions), wiring, and water pipes.
  • No Corded Phones - If you hear thunder, don’t use a corded phone.  Cordless phones, cell phones and other wireless handheld devices are safe to use.
  • No Open Areas - Avoid open fields, beaches, and hilltops.  
  • No Water - Avoid boats, swimming, open water 
  • Wooded Areas - If you are in a wooded area, seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees.   If you are in a group of people, spread out keeping several yards apart from each other. 
  • Hair Standing on End - If you feel your hair stand on end, you are in immediate danger of being struck. Unless you can instantly jump inside a shelter, drop to a crouching position, bending forward and keeping your feet close together with your hands on your knees. The object is to be as low to the ground as possible, but with as little of your body surface touching the ground.

If you ARE struck by lightning, know that persons struck by lightning carry no electrical charge and can be handled safely. Lightning often has a paralyzing effect that is temporary. Even though a person appears dead, he or she may be resuscitated. If a victim is not breathing, call EMS at 9-1-1 and immediately start mouth to mouth resuscitation every 5 seconds for adults and children. If a person is not breathing AND there is no pulse, CPR must be administered.  

For more information on lightning safety, contact our Certified Industrial Hygienist & Certified Safety Professional: 

Steve Kirschner
skirschner@advancedgeoservices.com
717.321.4869