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10 Reasons Why Midstream Pipelines Need a Digital, Highly Dynamic and Code-Free Regulatory Inspections Platform

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Pipelines are a dangerous business. There are more than 2.5 million miles of product pipelines crisscrossing the United States, enough to circle the Earth 100 times. These pipelines carry liquid and gaseous materials of every sort, most of them hazardous. Natural gas and crude oil are the most common pipelines. Midstream companies, recognizing the danger their pipelines present to their employees and to the public, want environmental and safety solutions that can mitigate their risks, protect their assets and employees, and lessen financial exposure.

Leaks and unintentional product releases pose the primary environmental and safety risks midstream companies face. These leaks can cause costly fires that damage property and result in serious injuries or fatalities. They can also poison drinking water or pollute the air. Finally, unintentional product releases can cause business and economic disruptions for the pipeline company and the surrounding community.

The EPA has raised penalties for compliance violations. For example, the maximum fines pipeline companies can now be assessed are:

  • Clean Air Act: $97,229 to $99,681 per day, per violation
  • Clean Water Act: $53,484 to $54,833 per day, per violation
  • Safe Drinking Water Act: $55,907 to $57,317 per day, per violation
  • Toxic Substances Control Act: $38,892 to $39,873 per day, per violation
  • Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act: $55,907 to $57,317 per day, per violation

In 2019, the EPA handed out $471.8 million in combined administrative and judicial civil penalties and criminal fines. The agency also opened 170 criminal cases opened, up 25 percent from the year before.

America’s pipeline system is also rapidly aging, greatly compounding the risks of environmental and safety incidents. Many pipelines are now several decades old. They need increasing repair and maintenance. Heavy pipes, falling equipment, moving vehicles, enclosed spaces and high-pressure lines all pose safety hazards for crews repairing pipelines and pumping or compressor stations.

Three out of every five on-site fatalities in the oil and gas industry are the result of struck-by/caught-in/caught-between hazards, according to the federal OSHA IMIS Database. The PHMSA reports a five-year average of 658 pipeline safety between 2015 and 2019. Over that time, there has been an average of 60 injuries per year and 14 fatalities. The average yearly total cost of these incidents equals $661.8 million.

Clearly, environmental and safety incidents have a big impact on a midstream pipeline company’s bottom line, siphoning off revenues and negatively impacting employee morale. The good news is that getting into compliance today is far cheaper than being forced to do it later. Various studies have shown that every dollar invested in injury prevention returns between $2 and $6. Similar results have been reported for environmental mitigation efforts.

Innovapptive, a “Mobile-First” connected workforce platform provider, offers two solutions that enable midstream pipeline companies to boost safety, reduce environmental incidents and respond to regulatory compliance needs at speed of light.

PHMSA, OSHA, NERC, etc. continuously update their regulatory compliance and inspection requirements. A digital, highly agile, dynamic and code-free inspection platform is necessary to meet evolving obligations. Innovapptive’s mWorkOrder and RACETM Dynamic Forms offer a robust digital inspections platform to satisfy changing laws, codes and regulations.

The platform allows midstream pipeline companies to capture and report potential environmental and safety issues before they become serious problems. Operators and technicians can perform rounds, inspections and risk assessments in the field, fully integrated with SAP, completing digital checklists and inspections that ensure key items are not overlooked. No binders or paper required. Data is digitally collected and relayed to the system of record in real time, so there’s no chance of it being lost or misplaced, as often happens with paper forms.

mWorkOrder and RACE Dynamic Forms come in an easy-to-use package that works with any mobile device, be it a smartphone, tablet, scanner, wearable, etc. Each feature online and offline modes, so if an inspection takes place in a remote area with no Internet connectivity, the digital form can still be completed, getting uploaded to the back-office once a Wi-Fi signal is detected.

Decision makers at the field, district or home office have immediate access to key information, speeding the data analysis process and heading off concerns – such as a leaking valve or worn engine part – before they become costly safety or environmental crises.

RACE Dynamic Forms helps pipeliners eliminate their paper trail and improve data collection. Digital forms save an average of 10 administrative hours each week and reduce errors commonly found on forms by 50 percent.

RACE Dynamic Forms contains the common federal and state environmental and safety forms midstream companies are required to complete to remain in compliance. There’s no need to scan forms and upload them… we’ve already done the work! So your company can begin using them immediately and reaping the gains, such as: 

  • gaining total visibility into mission-critical operations
  • connecting dispersed field teams with decision makers and back-office systems
  • replacing manual, paper-dependent processes
  • automating data entry to increase accuracy
  • streamlining the operator round, risk assessment and inspection process
  • ensuring procedures are being followed
  • analyzing precise, real-time data to identify risks and threats
  • classifying risks and threats by severity and likelihood
  • addressing safety/environmental concerns and developing proactive compliance processes
  • tracking when and where compliance actions were completed

Can’t find the pre-loaded digital form you’re looking for or need a custom form to fit your unique situation? RACE Dynamic Forms gives you the power to edit existing forms or create new ones in just minutes. As the solution is dynamic, you can push these forms to your field force enterprise-wide immediately, in real time, to quickly respond to urgent compliance issues.

Users have seen:

  • 80% fewer safety incidents through better risk and threat data capture.
  • 80% decrease in regulatory fines
  • 50% improvement in inspection backlog and compliance
  • 50% drop in common errors found on forms
  • 90% reduction in unplanned downtime

RACE Dynamic Forms gives you the crucial visibility and real-time data to ensure environmental and safety regulatory compliance, mitigate risk and safeguard your assets, workers and bottom line.

To learn more about mWorkOrder and RACE Dynamic Forms, click here to schedule a free demo or call us at 844-464 6668. Our experts are standing by to introduce how digital forms can boost your compliance initiatives. 

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