October once again saw Construction Safety Week with its aim to help improve safety standards across the construction industry. And once again, Gas Networks Ireland, the national gas network operator, is proud to sponsor the event.
One of the daily themes is Managing Hazardous Energies and with construction back in full swing, Gas Networks Ireland Networks Safety Manager, Owen Wilson, said now is the ideal time to remind the industry of the importance of putting safety at the heart of everything they do.
“Transporting large amounts of energy is Gas Networks Ireland’s core business and doing that safely is fundamental to our success, which is why we are proud to support Construction Safety Week for another year,” Wilson says.
“Energy, such as gas, is safe when treated with respect, but accidental damage to gas pipelines and other energy infrastructure can not only cause major disruption to the network, but also pose a danger to those in the vicinity, resulting in serious injury or even death.”
Despite extensive advertising campaigns and its award-winning Dial Before You Dig service, Gas Networks Ireland last year responded to over 400 incidents of damage to its underground gas network.
“Any responsible contractor will want to make sure that they operate a safe site. Obtaining maps of underground services and checking for the location of pipelines is a critical step when planning any excavation,” Wilson adds.
“Our online Dial Before You Dig service provides access to these drawings far quicker and easier than ever before. The online service provides virtually instant access to vital gas network drawings that would normally take 48 hours or longer to arrive, in minutes or even seconds, day or night, without the hassle of having to email in a map of the location for which drawings are needed.”
Safe digging practices such as remembering to Dial Before You Dig, can dramatically reduce the risk of damage, but it isn’t just accidental damage that can cause problems.
Gas Networks Ireland has attended several incidents recently where internal gas pipes have been disconnected during construction work without first being isolated, leading to a dangerous build-up of gas inside buildings.
“Like any form of energy, natural gas pipes need to be safely isolated before working on them,” Wilson says.
“If you’re working on domestic gas appliances or pipework, or domestic sized appliances used in a commercial setting, it is a legal requirement to use a Registered Gas Installer. On industrial or commercial appliances and pipework, work must be completed by a competent person.”
Gas Networks Ireland operates Ireland’s €2.7billion, 14,664km national gas network and is responsible for the safe, reliable and efficient transportation of natural gas to over 720,000 Irish homes and businesses.
Visit www.gasnetworks.ie/dial for more information, useful documents and videos to help you stay safe on-site