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Safety at work

Our working conditions are designed to ensure the health and safety of our own employees and of external third parties working for Gasunie. We apply the ‘Golden Rules of Safety’ and devote considerable attention to upholding safety culture and promoting safe conduct.

Golden Rules of Safety

As far as safety is concerned, Gasunie endeavours to prevent every incident. Based on this, operational management encompasses an extensive package of safety measures.
The company strives for continuous improvement in the implementation of its safety policy, subdivided into occupational safety, technical safety and external safety.

Safety is always first and foremost for Gasunie. Not only are there measures to ensure that we can continue to transport natural gas safely and reliably, Gasunie also considers it important that employees carrying out work for Gasunie are able to do this safely. A number of these safety rules are crucial to the way in which we work safely within Gasunie. These are the Golden Rules of Safety which must always be observed whilst performing all activities within Gasunie.
These Golden Rules supplement our efforts to prevent every incident.
The Gasunie Golden Rules of Safety do not constitute a new set of procedures or rules. They represent the translation of the HSE policy and our Code of Conduct into concrete rules about our behaviour and attitude with regard to safe working practices.

The Golden Rules of Safety have been drawn up to make clear that there are limits which may not be overstepped. We can prevent potentially dangerous situations if we keep to these rules.
These rules apply to everyone who carries out work for Gasunie.

Safety for contractors

If a contractor performs work for Gasunie it will be subject to the same standards as Gasunie’s own staff. All work must be carried out in a safe and environmentally aware manner. Risks must be dealt with at source as far as possible. Any remaining risks must be described and communicated. Contractors, subcontractors and their staff must all be familiar with Gasunie’s Health, Safety and Environmental policy and must act accordingly.
The contractor must strive to keep subcontracting limited to two levels and must keep an up-to-date register of the subcontractors and the number of subcontracting levels.
When performing work together with another party, the main contractor is responsible for compliance with the Working Conditions Act (Arbowet). Gasunie’s specific HSE requirements are laid down in CSA-38-N.

Accidents and incidents (reporting procedure, alternative employment)

Accidents, incidents, environmental deviations and hazardous situations that take place on Gasunie locations or premises must be reported. This covers not only reports relating to Gasunie employees but also those affecting third parties and/or indirectly involved parties. The purpose of reporting (internal and external), investigating, recording and registering these undesirable events, which relate both to safety and the environment, is so that people learn from them and consequently they are prevented from happening again in the future.

Risk matrix and risk analysis

Since risks at work can never be completely ruled out, it is important to make a proper assessment of risks and residual risks to safety. Different methodologies are available for this type of risk assessment or risk analysis. Risk matrices are used at Gasunie for assessing occupational safety risks and external safety risks.

These risk matrices must be used within all Gasunie processes where safety risks are qualitatively assessed. This applies, inter alia, to the following subjects:

  • Policy for the Prevention of Severe Accidents (Preventiebeleid Zware Ongevallen)
  • Risk Inventory and Evaluation
  • risk studies
  • risk studies and recommendations, for example into activities that are supposedly high risk
  • risk assessment in ARIEs and Project RIEs
  • qualification of the seriousness of a report of an incident, accident or near-miss accident

It is important to understand that the risk matrices are designed for specific scenarios for a particular object or event.

In order to evaluate risks, it is first necessary to assess the possible consequences of a scenario and then to assess or calculate the frequency of the possibility occurring. After this, the corresponding risk can be defined in the matrix.

Personal protective equipment

Gasunie does everything it can to make working conditions as safe as possible. However, working with tools and other devices can always involve a certain degree of risk. The residual risk is never zero. In order to restrict the possible consequences as far as possible, the use of personal protective equipment (such as fire retardant and antistatic work clothing, safety shoes, hard hats, goggles and gloves) is compulsory at Gasunie.
Personal protective equipment must meet high standards, being at the same time comfortable enough and providing the correct level of protection. Wearing work clothing also ensures the increased visibility of people at the work site.

Safety work permits

When work is carried out by third parties (e.g. contractors and hired staff), this should not have negative consequences for the safety and health of persons, installations and the environment. Therefore, binding agreements have to be concluded between Gasunie and third parties. Such agreements are laid down in a work permit. Gasunie works in accordance with the Deltalinqs work permit methodology (form and protocol).

This work permit system is applicable to all installations, stations, pipelines and (office) locations that are part of the Gasunie organisation. The granting of a work permit is geared to normal operational management. Under special circumstances, such as malfunctions or disasters, a custom procedure can be applied. In case of an evacuation, fire or gas alarm, the work permits lose their validity. Work can only be resumed once Gasunie has given its permission.

Certain activities are or may be exempted from the work permit. These refer to risks management during the work to be carried out, such as risks regarding:

  • The Gasunie process for the activities carried out by third parties;
  • The activities carried out by third parties for the process of Gasunie;
  • The Gasunie activities carried out for activities by third parties;
  • The activities carried out by third parties for the activities by Gasunie.

The written work permit is a document which specifies and ratifies (by signature by the competent officials) the arrangements on the work to be carried out and the necessary management measures to ensure the work is safely executed. A written work permit is valid for a maximum of seven calendar days (it does not necessarily have to start on the first working day of the working week).

In situations where no written work permit is issued, a log book or presence permit can suffice.

The application for the work permit (completed column 1 and column 3) must be submitted to the issuing department at least 5 working days before the start of the work.

An application for the work permit can be submitted via this site. Fill in the form on Werkvergunning aanvragen.

Transporting hazardous substances

When hazardous substances (such as condensate, odorant, waste products) are being transported and an accident happens, these substances may be released unintentionally. This may be harmful to health and to the environment. Hence the transport of hazardous substances must always comply with strict regulations. There are agreements in place with regard to the way in which the transport of hazardous substances must take place by or on the instructions of Gasunie.

VLG (Regeling Vervoer over Land van Gevaarlijke Stoffen (Regulation on the land transport of dangerous substances)) which incorporates the ADR (Accord européen relatif au transport international des marchandises Dangereuses par Route (European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road)) is applicable to the usual transport of hazardous substances by or on the instructions of Gasunie.

The operator of a location (office, installation, station) is responsible for ensuring that the transport of hazardous substances is carried out to the correct spot and that the users are instructed in relation to the regulations associated with the transport of hazardous substances. The transporter is obliged to use identification marks so that everyone sees that he is transporting hazardous substances and which category of substances is involved.

The Safety Department must be consulted if there are any questions or if there are cases for which no provision has been made.