A Saskatoon contractor believes an incident that endangered a worker this week could have been avoided.
A trackhoe ruptured a natural gas line Tuesday while digging in the Brighton, a new neighbourhood being built on the eastern edge of the city.
Geoff Brand, Safety Manager with Geransky Brothers Construction, said his company contacted Sask First Call to get locates on any underground lines before they started digging.
He said they were using the line locate maps provided to them.
However, Brand said the struck line was not included on the map.
“This gas line was not on that drawing. So the operator would have no idea that it was in the ground at that time,” Brand said. “This one was missed and it could have been catastrophic and we’re just concerned about the health and safety of our workers.”
An investigation is underway to determine who was at fault, but SaskEnergy spokesperson Dave Burdeniuk said it is very rare that a gas line is hit as a result of locating error.
“It is a small percentage of our damage, if there was a locate mistake. If that is the case then that’s not a cost we would pass along to the contractor,” Burdeniuk said.
“We do a very thorough investigation because we want to make sure we’re fair to the contractor. Not just say that they’re to blame,” Burdeniuk added. “If there is an error on our part we will accept that.”
A follow up investigation will determine a number of things.
Investigators will go back and look at the request made to Sask First Call, where the digging was done and how close the worker got to the lines that were marked.
However, overall, Burdeniuk said damage to their lines is down substantially.
“And that’s what were pleased with. Whether it’s the messaging we do, the meetings we do with contractors, the safety patrols,” Burdeniuk said.
Four years ago, 265 natural gas lines were accidentally hit across the province.
Last year there were 172 such incidents.