ARCHIVED – Final Report of the National Energy Board Action Plan on Safety and Environmental Protection 2011-2012

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The National Energy Board (NEB or the Board) released its Action Plan on Safety and Environmental Protection 2011-2012 (Action Plan) on 18 July 2011. The Action Plan positioned the NEB to take a leadership role on safety and environmental protection and was intended to improve results in four key areas - worker safety, integrity of installations, damage prevention, and emergency preparedness and response.

The Action Plan was part of our focus on continual improvement in safety and environmental protection outcomes. It was designed to set clear expectations for regulated companies and hold those companies accountable for results that represent the interests of Canadians. It was also intended to provide Canadians themselves, with information on the concrete actions the NEB is taking to improve the safety of energy infrastructure and the regulatory framework on which we all rely.

Action Plan Results

This is the NEB’s final report on the Action Plan; all actions committed to by the Board are complete. Detailed project information is available from the Action Plan main webpage by clicking on individual actions. Links to key documents are provided in this final report for ease of reference. For additional information, this final report also outlines further work completed beyond the Action Plan commitments in the three focus areas.

1. Clarifying Expectations

  1. 1.1 Finalize a Proposed Regulatory Change (PRC) for management system requirements to the Onshore Pipeline Regulations, 1999 (OPR) by 30 September 2011.

    Status: complete

    PRC 2011-01 was issued on 29 July 2011. This PRC clarifies the Board’s requirement that regulated companies follow a management system approach to meet their obligations under the National Energy Board Act and the OPR.

    Further work: the Board has now amended the OPR to include the PRC. Please visit the NEB’s website under Acts and Regulations to find the amended regulations.
  2. 1.2 Provide clear guidance on compliance and enforcement for damage prevention by 31 December 2011.

    Status: complete

    On 29 February 2012, the Board published a compliance enforcement framework that provides guidance on how the NEB will respond to reports of unauthorized excavation and construction activity near federally regulated pipelines. Further information on the framework and the NEB’s overall approach to damage prevention is available on our website under Damage Prevention.

    Further work: on 3 July 2013, the Board published Administrative Monetary Penalties Regulations (National Energy Board) which makes non-compliance with the Pipeline Crossing Regulations, Part I and II a violation that can be subject to a penalty. The Board has incorporated the use of penalties into the compliance and enforcement framework.
  3. 1.3 Identify key issues and develop a plan to achieve regulatory clarity for damage prevention by 29 February 2012.

    Status: complete

    In November 2011, the Board met with various representatives of the damage prevention community, including those who provided comments on the proposed Damage Prevention Regulations (DPR) to discuss key issues to be addressed to reduce risks near pipelines. Feedback collected during the discussion, in addition to concerns heard throughout the process of developing the proposed DPR, assisted the Board in developing a plan to achieve regulatory clarity for its damage prevention framework, which was released on 29 February 2012.

    Further work: the Board released a discussion paper on a proposal for regulatory change on 28 December 2012. Comment letters were published on 2 April 2013. On 4 July 2013, the Board announced that it will proceed with a Notice of Proposed Regulatory Change, which is anticipated to be available for public comment in November 2013.
  4. 1.4 Improve measurement of industry performance for safety and environmental protection by 29 February 2012.

    Status: complete

    The board finalized the pipeline performance measures on 28 March 2012 and directed 30 companies with the longest pipelines to report for the 2012 trial year. The report results were compiled and workshops were held in 2013 with companies to improve the measures and guidance for future reporting.

    Further work: the Board plans to publish 2013 industry average results on performance measures in 2014.

2. Improve accessibility of information

  1. 2.1 Improve accessibility of information on the NEB's programs and the performance of regulated companies with respect to safety and environmental protection by 31 December 2011.

    Status: complete

    On 30 August 2011, the NEB announced that it would begin to post documents related to Board-initiated safety and environmental enforcement actions (except where information is protected by law).

    Further work: as a result of the Board’s Safety Forum, the NEB committed to further improve accessibility of information. See details of this commitment in the Board’s Safety Forum Report on our website.

3. Take leadership on key safety and environmental protection issues

  1. 3.1 Work with other regulators to identify key issues and potential solutions for safety and environmental protection by 30 September 2012.

    Status: complete

    Following the Incident Reduction Workshop and the Arctic Offshore Drilling Review, the NEB identified key safety and environmental protection issues relevant to the performance of regulated companies in the following two areas:

    a) implementing highly integrated and effective management systems
    b) growing a robust and sustainable safety culture

    The NEB engaged with several provincial and international regulators on these two topics in the months leading up to the Safety Forum.  This work culminated with the Regulator’s panel discussion at the NEB’s Safety Forum in June 2013. 

    Further work: there were several areas of interest for further collaboration identified before and during the safety forum. Discussion and collaboration is ongoing, an example being the NEB’s collaboration with Canadian offshore regulators to develop a definition, dimensions and attributes of safety culture for public consultation.
  2. 3.2 Convene a forum on pipeline and facility safety - Spring 2013.

    Status: complete

    The Safety Forum took place on June 5th and 6th, 2013 and the Safety Forum Report was released on 30 September 2013. The Forum attracted 385 participants representing the public, Aboriginal peoples, industry, consultants, academia, government, National Energy Board representatives and youth. Key topics discussed at the Forum included corporate leadership’s role in building and maintaining a safety culture, effectiveness of management systems and performance measurement’s role in risk management. Other areas explored included how industry can work to earn public trust, the role of leadership in safety, public expectations around transparency of information, and the evolving role of the regulator.

    Further work:

    In the Safety Forum Report, the NEB committed to concrete actions it will take in order to move industry, and itself, forward in achieving the goal of zero incidents. This includes:
    • Undertaking public consultation on safety culture in order to develop a clear definition, attributes and indicators;
    • Developing guidance intended to improve the prevention of catastrophic events;
    • Improving how Canadians get the information they want and need;
    • Setting a path for continual improvement through collaboration with other regulators and reporting on safety and enforcement tools the Board has recently implemented such as Administrative Monetary Penalties.

    Next Steps

    The NEB confirmed at the Forum that a goal of zero incidents is not only the right goal but also an achievable goal. With strong, well-implemented management systems and a safety culture that permeates every aspect of the organization, incidents are preventable. An industry-wide effort to achieve a strong safety culture will increase protection of the public, workers and the environment and at the same time help to strengthen public trust in the energy sector and its regulators, a critical component to its continued success.

    The Board remains committed to continual improvement of safety and environmental protection outcomes. For this reason, the Board will develop a new set of commitments incorporating the NEB’s actions resulting from the outcomes of the recent Safety Forum and potentially other actions that will result in continual improvement of safety and environmental protection outcomes.

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