Adapting inspections in response to COVID-19

Adapting inspections in response to COVID-19

May 22, 2020

As a Canada Energy Regulator (CER) Inspection Officer, Dan is no stranger to field work but his recent inspection near Herschel, Saskatchewan felt different. A career-first, Dan was deployed to respond to an incident at Enbridge’s Line 3 Herschel pump station during the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent practice exercise with a similar scenario provided Dan with the assurance needed to safely fulfill his role overseeing Enbridge’s clean-up while feeling safe himself.

With extensive preparation and support from CER safety, emergency management, and occupational health and safety technical staff, Dan took every precaution. “I did a self-assessment of my health before leaving, during the incident and upon return, had the personal pandemic specific protective equipment needed to be on site and followed all provincial and federal guidelines.” These added measures were not limited to his time on site. As the inspection took place over two days and required travel, he also took several additional safety measures to stay safe while driving to site and in making accommodation plans. This included packing a 72 hour provision kit to make sure he was ready for the unexpected.

“I was ready and had a team of people supporting me prior to, during and upon return.” Making the right decisions to protect himself and anyone else he encountered during his field deployment was a team effort. The biggest challenge was making sure he could fulfill his role inspecting the company’s clean-up while also maintaining appropriate social distancing and safety measures.

The current pandemic has added additional health and safety considerations and Dan recognizes all the ways the CER has adapted its on-site work. “I adjusted the way I did my job and there are learnings that will benefit our work going forward long after the pandemic has passed.” The CER’s number one priority is to keep people safe. “I am better prepared for my work helping to keep Canada’s energy moving safely as a result of this experience.”

The Line 3 Indigenous Advisory Monitoring Committee (IAMC) was notified of the incident shortly after it was reported to the CER and were informed when the CER determined it would conduct a field inspection. Further, interested IAMC members were invited to participate in a technical briefing with CER technical staff. Once complete, the inspection report will be publicly available on the CER website.

The factors to consider and effects of this pandemic are changing quickly. The CER continues to evolve its preparations and protocols to ensure it is always ready to respond.

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