Advancing Job Site Safety Through Innovation

Job site safety on any construction site is serious business. Site work requires an enormous amount of manpower and heavy equipment, such as dozers, pipe layers, excavators, and work trucks. Add in the additional hazards that come with harsh winter conditions, and the potential for an incident increases.

“With so many people working in such close proximity to each other and large machinery, combined with plummeting winter temperatures, coordinating a seemingly straightforward task like pipe installation can be very dangerous,” said Mike Gibb, Manager of Program Safety, Enbridge.

“It’s vital that operators are aware of the workers and machinery around them, even those in the blind spots. One wrong move and there is a high risk that equipment will be damaged or even worse someone could be seriously injured.”

That was the challenge that Enbridge was looking to address when they came to Brigade Electronics.

In January 2015, Enbridge undertook trial installation of Brigade’s BS-8000 radar system, and BE camera monitors on six pieces of equipment on two of the Regional Pipeline group’s winter mainline spreads. Training and guidance was provided by Brigade Canada’s team of application engineers.

Brigade’s high-performance cameras and waterproof monitors allow operators to see blind spots. The Backsense BS-8000 radar system alerts the operator when an object is sensed. It can be programmed to precisely eliminate detection from a machine’s counterweights or ripper attachment; focusing solely on the area of immediate risk, not beyond it. The system lights up when movement is detected and audible alarms activate at a pre-specified distance.

After a several months, which saw machines tasked with pipe laying, grade work, and excavating, it was clear that Brigade’s safety solutions weren’t just durable and able to withstand the extreme weather conditions, they significantly reduced the risk of injury or incident. In the winter of 2016, Enbridge expanded the use of camera and radar systems on heavy equipment across the entire Wood Buffalo Project.

“The majority of equipment operators reported they were very happy with the tools and several indicated that they appreciated the additional safety measures,” said Gibb. “The results were spectacular, as there was zero contact of people or property by equipment equipped with the system.”

Dwayne Folk, Brigade Canada’s Pipeline representative said, “Throughout the trial, we worked closely with Enbridge to ensure the solution we offered could meet all of the stringent safety specifications set out.  Enbridge’s commitment to best practice is outstanding. You can’t put a price on safety.”

As an outcome of the positive results of this initiative, Enbridge developed a Safe Work Practice that mandates the use of these systems on all heavy equipment for Enbridge’s Line 3—a 1,660-kilometer pipeline that runs between Hardisty, Alberta and Superior, Wisconsin.

Additionally, Enbridge introduced and shared this Safe Work Practice with the CEPA Foundation Pipeline Construction Safety Roundtable—of which Enbridge is a member—which adopted it as an industry best practice.

“As an industry, when it comes to safety, we don’t compete. This initiative was a great example of the kind of innovation and leadership we seek to share and leverage across the pipeline industry,” said Rob Beamish, Executive Director, CEPA Foundation. “Enbridge not only improved their own safety results, but also helped launch a new industry best practice by sharing their Safe Work Practice.”
By the fall this year Brigade will have equipped more than 600 machines. Distributors supporting Brigade with pipeline installations include Sitech, Browns Industrial, and Certified Radio.