Ear to the Ground - Spring 2015 - (Page 11)

FEATURE B Y C O R I N A E M D E , S R . C O O R D I N AT O R P L A N T D A M A G E P R E V E N T I O N U N I O N G A S LT D. Damage Prevention and Innovation U nion Gas has teamed up with Engineering faculty and students at McMaster University in Hamilton to bring a new innovation to damage prevention. As part of its ongoing commitment to safety and industry leadership, the Ontario-based natural gas storage, transmission and distribution company recently partnered with McMaster's W Booth School of Engineering Practice on a project that focuses on damage prevention and third-party excavation risks. Participating engineering students who are working toward a Master of Engineering have been engaged through an Innovation Studio, a W Booth initiative that allows students, faculty and business partners such as Union Gas to collaborate on real-world projects. Project work typically leads to tangible deliverables, such as reports, papers and prototypes that can be used to advance business solutions.  For this project, steps include: completing academic research; gathering statistics; reviewing legislation and industry best practices; observing and interviewing key stakeholder groups; and engaging excavators, facility owners and the public. Student team members were able to do some of that research at the recent 2015 ORCGA Symposium, where W Booth and Union Gas presented a seminar on damage prevention and innovation to an audience of over 100 people. Student Hermain Kazmi, who represented the team working with Union Gas, talked about how the project is applying the principles of "human-centered design" (hear, research, analyze SPRING 15 Pictured from left: student Abhishek Chaturvedi, Corina Emde - Union Gas, Dr. Robert Fleisig - McMaster University, students Nauman Saeed, Hermain Kazmi and design) to the challenge of protecting underground infrastructure. At the symposium, students were able to connect with industry members to share ideas, learn from experts and gather information on trends and technologies dealing with damage prevention and safe excavation. More important, they were able to ask industry stakeholders about their experiences; learn what would make things easier for them, create efficiencies, cost savings and decrease damages. The students are taking what they learned and working on solutions that are based on both technology and human behaviour. As one of three founding members of Ontario One Call, the Locate Alliance Consortium and the One-Call-OneLocate strategy, Union Gas is a staunch supporter of underground infrastructure notification legislation, and an ORCGA member since its inception. Union is no stranger to embracing new ideas in its ongoing efforts to protect underground infrastructure. Damage prevention awareness programs, industry best practices and legislation have substantially decreased infrastructure damages over the past ten years, but third-party damages continue to pose the biggest threat to pipelines. "To continue to reduce the risks surrounding third-party excavations, we're looking to innovation to help us take our damage prevention efforts up another notch," said Wes Armstrong, Director of Distribution Operations for Union Gas. "This is a complex problem that takes collaboration to solve. Union Gas applauds W Booth for creating meaningful and authentic real-world learning experiences for its students. We are confident that this Innovation Studio project will have a positive impact and help advance our industry." ■ 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Ear to the Ground - Spring 2015

President's Message
2015 Dig Safe Symposium Awards
Damage Prevention and Innovation
High Pressure Transmission Pipeline Safety
Delivery of Locates in Ontario
ORCGA's Damage Prevention Technician, DPT Program
Ice Storm 2013: We Have the Power to Survive
Our Industry is Constantly Changing
Index of Advertisers

Ear to the Ground - Spring 2015