PLAN: Introduction to new hazards

As companies continue to evolve, operational changes occur, and these operational changes may introduce new hazards. However, hazards aren’t defined in the recommended practice so let’s add the definition here and in the glossary.

A hazard is a condition or event that might cause a failure or damage incident or anything that has the potential to cause harm to people, property, or the environment.[1]

During the planning stage of an operational change, a hazard assessment typically takes place to identify the hazards. Public awareness specialists can leverage the identification and decide on appropriate messaging for stakeholder audiences. Public awareness specialists can conduct an assessment by asking specific questions like

  • What is changing?
  • What are the potential hazards if there is a leak?

Operational changes that may lead to new hazards and new stakeholder messaging include:

  • Newly commissioned pipeline
  • Using an existing pipeline for a new product
  • Initial operation of a distribution pipeline outside a current coverage area

Completing a hazard assessment for an operational change is an effective way of knowing if and what messages should be communicated to stakeholders. Operators should communicate these new hazards to stakeholder audiences before the introduction of new hazards; however, there is an 18-month grace period.

Often hazard and risk are confused though it may be helpful to recognize that hazards lead to risks. A risk is a measure of the likelihood of happening and its severity if it happens. Overall, risks arising from hazards are managed to minimize or eliminate the impact on people, property, and the environment.

Public Awareness Programs are used to minimize and control the risk of activities near a pipeline(s).

[1] CSA Z662:19