There are some amazing organizations who focus on preventing oil and gas pipelines from being damaged in specific situations, like under navigable waterways and on farm and ranch lands. When you look deeper into what these organizations are doing and who their members are, it becomes clear that support for these groups should be much broader. Where there are pipelines there are likely to be cables. Yes, pipeline damages grab most of the negative publicity for obvious reasons. However, hitting a high voltage cable can be fatal and cutting a fiber line can cut off vital communication to hospitals, 911, etc. The question is, why are pipelines the primary facility of owners who are members?
Here are two examples of great organizations that could be supported by non-pipeline stakeholders. If these groups had more funding, they could no doubt have an even broader impact on public safety and damage prevention.
The Coastal and Marine Operators (CAMO) is one notable example. While their primary focus is protecting coastal and marine pipelines and the environment, they also protect submarine fiber and electric cables and water pipelines. The education and training materials they created are tremendous and free to everyone:
• Video Training
• Best Practice Tip Cards
• Location Planning Checklist
• Working Safely Near Underwater Pipelines
The Pipeline Ag Safety Alliance (PASA) is another example. They work closely with the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) to help deliver safe digging education to farmers and ranchers across the nation. There are 3,000-plus county agricultural agents that are members of NACAA and whose full-time job is to provide education to farmers and ranchers. This “educate the educator” approach is an incredibly effective way to improve farm safety and protect the thousands of miles of pipelines and cables.
Like CAMO, almost all of PASA’s members are pipeline operators. While it makes great sense for pipelines to support PASA, it also seems like a great opportunity for wind energy, fiber companies, and major electric utilities. Visit PipelineAgSafetyAlliance.com for more information. PASA initiatives include:
• Monthly Digital Newsletter – written to educate ag agents, including updates on educational materials available
• Communications Hub – provides a point of contact for agents to connect with local utility operators, download material, and request in-person or virtual presentation support
• NACAA Publication – exposure in NACAA’s The County Agent
• NACAA Conference – PASA booth, sponsorship, and educational presentation
• Effectiveness Tracking – documentation for PA/DP programs
• PASA Farm & Ranch Excavation Safety Guide – Includes RP1162 baseline messaging, sent to extension professionals across the U.S.
• Agent Engagement – Promoting active engagement of field level agents through state chapter leadership, etc.
• Education Portal – free online safety education for ag agents
Providing financial support to these organizations shows great support for public safety, and if the added funding leads to one less damage, the ROI seems like an opportunity that cannot be missed.