True to the Canadian energy industry’s reputation for deeply valuing safety and efficiency, a major natural gas pipeline project has raised the bar for what is expected of workers on its job sites.
The Coastal GasLink pipeline project is taking action as an industry leader in jobsite safety by mandating the use of In-vehicle Monitoring Systems (IVMS) as part of their Driving Safe Work Guideline. The guideline applies to employees, prime contractors, and sub-contractors who operate vehicles in the field while working on the Coastal GasLink project – meaning virtually everyone who works on this pipeline is required to comply with the stringent IVMS standard set for the project.
A wholly-owned subsidiary of TC Energy, Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd. is responsible for the project, as well as the prime contractors selected for the pipeline’s construction. The approximately 670 kilometer-long pipeline project is currently underway, and when finished will deliver natural gas from Northern British Columbia to Kitimat, on the coast of B.C. The pipeline’s long, winding route is broken into eight construction ‘sections’ that will see four prime contractors take care of two individual sections each. Those contractors will be selecting various sub-contractors as required to move the project forward.
Naturally, a project of this scope requires thousands of people specializing in various fields spread across a huge geographical area to complete. Mandating IVMS and vehicle GPS tracking for all onsite motor vehicles is an excellent way to gain visibility into the status and safety of workers.
In-vehicle Monitoring Systems
The expectation is that IVMS will work as a part of a larger overall safety plan intended to mitigate accidents and incidents involving vehicles on the project and encourage safer driving practices for those who have them installed.
The importance of safe driving habits, not just on this project – but on any oil & gas worksite, cannot be understated. Since the early 2000s, transportation accidents have consistently been the leading cause of fatalities in Western Canada’s oil & gas industry – by a wide margin. Between 2001 and 2017, traffic accidents accounted for 44% of fatalities in the industry, 26% higher than the next leading cause.
Since traffic accidents are a well-documented and prevalent risk in the oil & gas industry, it makes sense that such a large project would put a strong emphasis on improving and monitoring driver behavior.
So how does IVMS work?
IVMS is essentially GPS tracking, or a vehicle telematics system that allows for all equipped vehicles to be monitored in real-time by a fleet manager, safety officer, or anyone else who has access. These types of systems offer a breadth of benefits such as maintenance tracking, theft prevention, tracking fuel costs, finding business efficiencies, increasing productivity, and much more. For the Coastal GasLink project, the key motivator for mandating IVMS is safety and driver behavior.
TC Energy and Coastal GasLink Pipeline Ltd. have set the IVMS standard with specific requirements that fall outside the capabilities of some traditional fleet tracking systems.
Every vehicle must have a system equipped that supports these features in order to be compliant and eligible to work on the Coastal GasLink pipeline project. Fortunately, there is a GPS tracking solution available that supports those key required IVMS specifications, and much more.
How Titan GPS Fits into the Picture
As prime contractors begin to secure sub-contractors for specialty services to work on the Coastal GasLink project, there will certainly be a focus on compliance with the Driving Safe Work Guideline. Sand and gravel trucks, welders, non-destructive testing vehicles, instrumentation specialists, pipefitters, mobile maintenance technicians, and many more will be required over the course of the project.
Titan GPS’ extensive list of features and products ensure that businesses are eligible to qualify according to the IVMS specifications for the project. Our systems and products are built to support the oil & gas industry, and comply with IVMS requirements.
Key to all effective IVMS and GPS solutions is live tracking. Titan GPS’ fleet tracking system takes care of that, allowing for real-time visibility into the status, speed, and location of all equipped vehicles. Our live location tracking feature also enables another key parameter required for the project: Geo-fencing. The ability to set virtual perimeters around landmarks and locations allows for additional visibility and easier monitoring.
The driver behaviour aspect of the project’s IVMS requirements is a particularly popular function of Titan GPS fleet management solutions. Our platform is customizeable to send alerts for speeding, hard braking and acceleration, and other key performance indicators for drivers. Adding to the driver behaviour monitoring and alerts, the Titan GPS system supports live coaching for drivers. Our system can send audible alerts when drivers exceed customizable thresholds for certain behaviours such as speed.
Advanced Vehicle Diagnostic Data from Titan GPS is a feature that enables vehicles equipped with our GPS tracking hardware to draw diagnostic codes from the vehicle’s on-board computer (OBDII port). With this capability, users can monitor safety features such as seatbelt use, tire pressure, maintenance indicators like oil life, and even airbag deployment.
Titan GPS hardware can be installed to ensure it is not tampered with as well. Our rugged tamper-proof units are capable of sending alerts and notifying users when devices have been unhooked or disconnected from the battery, adding driver accountability and ensuring peace of mind knowing devices are online and functional.
All of these features cover the essentials which are noted as priorities for IVMS on the Coastal GasLink pipeline project, but that is not the limit on the capabilities of Titan GPS systems.
As the Coastal GasLink pipeline winds through forests, crosses rivers, and climbs mountains, there are a few features that will play an integral role in successful monitoring through IVMS.
Similar to roads and highways that pass through mountainous regions, there is always a chance that the pipeline route will encounter geologic formations that stop construction in its tracks. Particularly rocky regions may require blasting with explosives to pass through areas where traditional equipment can’t dig. In situations where there may be explosives, government policies can require the suspension or powering-off of all radio transmitting devices – this includes GPS tracking systems. To ensure restricted radio frequency compliance, Titan GPS systems support a ‘PERF MODE’ that shuts down the cellular modems that GPS systems operate on.
Another issue that IVMS users could face during this project is intermittent cellular coverage. GPS tracking systems need a network to function properly – as explained here. While they most commonly operate with a cellular modem that has coverage similar to that of a cell phone, some Titan GPS systems are compatible with the Iridium Global Network, meaning that coverage is never limited based on cellular range.
Titan GPS and the Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project
Titan GPS can provide current and potential sub-contractors all of the equipment and systems to ensure compliance on the Coastal GasLink project, and any future projects that could potentially enforce the use of in-vehicle monitoring systems. Our existing partnership with SA Energy Group, one of the four prime contractors for the Coastal GasLink project, is a testament to our system’s adaptability and viability on projects with such stringent safety standards.
As safety becomes more and more of a focus for projects like the Coastal GasLink pipeline and the oil & gas industry as a whole, there will likely be increased instances of IVMS and vehicle telematics becoming standard equipment. The electronic logging device (ELD) mandate in both Canada and the United States is another example of governing bodies seeing the benefits of tracking technology, and taking steps toward mandatory use.
The ability to monitor drivers, enhance driving behaviour, and respond to incidents is a key function of GPS tracking systems, but the benefits of such systems extend far beyond those features alone. As an industry leader in vehicle telematics, Titan GPS is always innovating, adding new features, introducing new hardware, and improving on our systems to suit any industry or job.
Contact one of our experts today and see how Titan GPS can prepare your business for the future, and help get the most out of your fleet today