Natural gas and propane pipelines that are exposed due to construction activities can shift, separate, or be damaged when they are not adequately supported by the soil around them. Properly supporting and protecting these pipelines ensures their continued safe operation, and helps protect your crew and the public from the very serious risk of a fire or explosion.
There are several ways to safely support exposed pipelines. The best method for your jobsite depends on the type and condition of the pipeline, the depth of construction activity, and the surrounding soil. Please contact Duke Energy’s Gas Engineering Department for recommendations specific to your jobsite in Ohio and Kentucky. They can be reached at 800–544–6300.
Once pipelines have been safely supported, exercise caution when working around them:
- Do not walk on, climb on, strike, or attempt to move exposed pipelines. Even a slight impact or load can separate pipeline joints, damage protective coatings, or destabilize supports.
- Protect the pipeline’s coating. The coating on the pipeline is critical to preventing corrosion. Any wooden beams in contact with the pipeline must be structurally sound and free of nails, and they must be removed prior to backfilling. Cover or pad any support material like dense rubber or polyurethane padding.
- Slings must be made from nylon and in good condition. Each sling shall be properly rated for the load. All slings must be carrying equal loads at intervals no greater than the maximum allowed span of unsupported pipe.
Even a slight gouge, scrape, or dent to a pipeline, its coating, or a wire attached to or running alongside the pipe, may cause a break or leak in the future. Check the pipeline regularly for nicks, dents, or other damage. When your excavation work is complete and before you backfill around the pipeline, check it again. Report any damages to Duke Energy so crews can inspect the line and make the necessary repairs.
Additional pipeline protection guidelines, illustrations of proper support methods, case studies, instructional videos, and training tools can all be found, at no charge to you, on Duke Energy’s e–SMARTworkers website.
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