From simple tasks like heating our homes to charging our mobile devices, all economies are forced to be concerned with the acquisition and use of energy and energy-related materials. In the case of Europe, the demand outweighs the domestic supply of both conventional and alternative forms of energy production. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia has been Europe’s guarantor of a consistent energy supply. However, the rocky relationship with the Kremlin paired with an increasingly unreliable pipeline network has motivated European countries to develop alternative supply routes. One of the most obvious ways to achieve this goal is to jumpstart the construction of efficient energy pipelines – and also appropriate in terms of health and safety . Projects like the Pan-European Pipeline (PEOP) and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (also known as Nabucco West or TANAP) will reroute Europe’s energy supply through the Caspian Sea, Turkey, and neighboring countries and thereby free Western Europe from the reliance on Russian pipeline’s. It seems, however, that while European consumers of Eastern gas work to improve their delivery system, Russian producers do their part to stay competitive.
Last year former German chancellor and Gazprom spokesman Gerhard Schroeder announced that the energy giant’s Nord Stream 2 line is now operational and will deliver 27.5 billion cubic metres of natural gas per year via the Baltic Sea bed to German homes. For Gazprom, the new line represents a major achievement as it frees the company from having to deliver gas through old pipelines that run across Ukraine and subject the company to hefty transit fees.
For the potential that these pipelines have and can carry, they are matched with tremendous hazards. First and foremost is the issue of health and safety of workers who are constructing and operating the pipelines and associated facilities. Secondly, pipelines themselves present a considerable health and safety concerns, as they are subject to geohazards easily capable of compromising their functionality. For the actual builders of the pipelines and sites, health and safety risks are the same as they would be for any construction job, involving risks such as falls, heavy machinery use, flammability, overexertion, and material strikes.
Moreover, for the employees engaged in post-construction field servicing, the aforementioned safety issues are augmented by the addition of environmental conditions.
According to data taken from 2008-2012, the greatest number of injuries is caused by:
Falls (for the same or a different elevation)- 24%
Being struck by an object- 20%
Post-construction, the pipelines themselves are exposed to three serious safety concerns. The primary concern is always corrosion: certain elements in the oil or gas will corrode the pipe itself. Over time, cracks and leaks may, if unaddressed, result in oil spills or gas leaks. Mistakes during construction or planning will increase the risk of such structural problems as accidentally hitting an underground pipeline and possible sub-par maintenance. Finally, there is the issue of natural disasters and other geohazards that can cause the partial destruction of entire pipeline sectors.
Given that all these employee and material risks as well as the fact that proposed pipelines will be traversing at least 3 countries before they arrive at an EU destination, efficiently implementing regulations and managing health and safety will be a herculean task for all new pipeline projects. How can workers in Azerbaijan communicate construction issues with other teams in Georgia or Turkey? How can health and safety reports be disseminated to all crews in a way that everyone effectively understands them? To best address these issues, it is imperative that the services of a trustworthy translation company with experience in the pipeline construction projects and safety regulations is involved early on in the process.
EVS Translations is an FPAL-registered translation company that offers translations of the entire spectrum of OHS documents and has more than twenty years of experience translating every variety of energy projects.
If you are a company involved in pipeline planning, construction, and maintenance EVS Translations can help you to present health and safety instructions to all your employees in a clear, concise manner to help prevent accidents. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you make the most of your health and safety programs.