Operating Safely Around Underground Gas Services

23 February 2017

Reference #:  B-G5 080221 1 Revision 2

Topic

This information bulletin describes how to notify gas companies of excavation work and how to excavate safely in the vicinity of an underground gas installation.

Damage to a pressurized underground gas line (i.e., a "line hit") can potentially cause catastrophic events such as explosions and fires.

Important Information

The requirements in the Gas Safety Regulation (GSR), Part 6, Division 1 sections 37-40, detail an individual’s responsibility when excavating around underground gas installations operating at 100 psig or less. For underground installations operating at pressures above 100 psig please refer to the requirements of the BC Oil and Gas Commission (www.bcogc.ca). These requirements are intended to prevent damage to underground gas installations. Excavators who do not follow the GSR requirements below may be subject to disciplinary action.

Anyone who intends to excavate must request the location of underground gas installations from the gas company serving the area or its agent. BC One Call is the approved agent of Fortis BC – Gas and Pacific Northern Gas (PNG) as well as other underground utility companies. A BC One Call member list and other information about this organization can be obtained from their web site at www.bconecall.bc.ca/ListOfMembers.php

BC One Call provides a 24/7, 365 days a year service at one toll-free number province wide 1-800-474­6886. Telus and Rogers Mobility offer free air time to cellular callers at *6886. An E-ticket locate request can also be submitted through the BC One Call website. There are no charges for any BC One Call services.

BC One Call will ask you to provide contact information, including your name and telephone numbers and you will be asked to identify the exact location of your planned excavation. You will also be asked to provide the following information:

  • How deep will you be digging?
  • When do you plan to begin work?
  • Are you digging on public or private property, or both?
  • Where on the property will you be digging? 

It is recommended to fill out the Excavation Site Information form available on the BC One Call website (http://www.bconecall.bc.ca/pdf/excavationform.pdf) before making the call to ensure you have all the required information.

You will be issued a BC One Call confirmation ticket number that lists details of your project and includes the names of BC One Call members with buried facilities in your area. This is your record of having advised BC One Call of your project and demonstrates compliance with the GSR requirements to notify gas companies of excavations. BC One Call contacts the member companies with buried facilities in the area of the proposed excavation and provides notification of your digging request. Member companies then contact the excavator to advise them of the location of any buried facilities in the area of the excavation.

Each member company will respond to your request within three working days excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Responses to your request could be by fax or e-mail providing site plans showing the location on or near your site of their underground services, digging instructions and other relevant safety information.  Some member companies will provide physical surface markings by sending a representative to your site.

You are not cleared to excavate until all members notified have contacted you.  If a member company does not respond to a request within the three working days, contact BC One Call to follow up with the appropriate member on your behalf.

Not every owner and operator of buried facilities in British Columbia is a member of BC One Call and therefore excavators must determine which non-member companies have facilities in the area and notify them of excavation work.

BC One Call’s service is free of charge and its use is greatly encouraged by BCSA. If an underground gas line is damaged and the individual/company responsible is found to be in noncompliance with the GSR, Part 6, and Div.1, they may be subject to disciplinary actions from either BC Safety Authority, WorkSafe BC or both. Actions may include, but not be restricted to, a monetary penalty.

Brad Wyatt
Provincial Safety Manager - Gas

References:
Safety Standards Act
Gas Safety Regulation
Safety Standards General Regulation