Safety stand down remains in place for Trans Mountain

Journal of Commerce | Russell Hixson | January 7, 2021

The Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project’s safety stand down remains in place after its initial Jan. 4 cutoff, a project spokesperson confirmed.

“We are in the final stages of our restart planning and anticipate that we will be providing further details on restart dates in the coming days,” said the spokesperson in an email to the Journal of Commerce.

Ian Anderson, Trans Mountain president and CEO, stated at the beginning of the stand down that it was due to “safety incidents” at its worksites that had occurred over that past few months. Anderson stated the stand down would go until Jan. 4 so the Trans Mountain team could “reset and refocus” its efforts, and those of its contractors and their workers.

While Trans Mountain did not specify what safety incidents led to the stand down, documents from a Canada Energy Regulator inspector following visits to Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project jobsites in the Lower Mainland detailed “systemic non-compliance” of COVID-19 protocols.

In the report, the inspector told those in charge to do a safety stand down at the site so the entire project team can be addressed regarding the seriousness of COVID-19, the behaviour that is expected and the consequences of non-compliance.

The inspector also asked Trans Mountain to provide a plan outlining the project’s disciplinary ladder for not complying with COVID-19 protocols and how it will ensure that employees and contractors consistently take disciplinary action when non-compliance is found.

In addition to the inspector’s report, the project also saw a worker killed at an Edmonton site in October and an employee of a contractor was seriously injured in December while on a Burnaby site.