Trans Mountain halting construction amid safety concerns
Trans Mountain said it is shutting down construction on its pipeline expansion project until early January for safety reasons.
Officials from the company and the Canada Energy Regulator said Wednesday that a contractor was seriously injured a day earlier at the site in Burnaby, B.C.
In a statement late Thursday, Trans Mountain said the company is enacting a voluntary, project-wide safety stand-down from Friday until Jan. 4.
Construction at the Burnaby site had already stopped Wednesday after the injury.
“Our top priorities remain the safety of our workers and maintaining a safe work environment as we continue to work towards the successful completion of this critical Canadian project. Over the past two months, we have seen safety incidents at our worksites that are unacceptable,” said Trans Mountain President and CEO Ian Anderson in a release.
Trans Mountain said Thursday that approximately 20 per cent of the expansion project has been completed this year, and warned that safety is “one of the greatest risks” next year when construction enters a peak phase requiring thousands of workers.
“Trans Mountain is proactively taking the step to temporarily stand down construction on the expansion project to review, reset and refocus our efforts, and those of our contractors and their workers. We are committed to a strong culture of safety above all else and insist that our project contractors and subcontractors are equally committed,” Anderson said.
The federal government approved the Trans Mountain expansion project in June 2019, which faces 156 conditions imposed by the Canada Energy Regulator. The government acquired the project, along with other Trans Mountain assets, from Kinder Morgan, Inc. in 2018 after political and regulatory uncertainty led to the company threaten to abandon the project.
“We will be closely monitoring this review by the company and we expect the recent incident and contributing factors to be thoroughly investigated and swiftly addressed,” Katherine Cuplinskas, press secretary to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, said in an emailed statement.
The pipeline, which will run 980 kilometres from Alberta to the B.C. coast, is expected to cost $12.6 billion and enter into service in December 2022.
With files from BNN Bloomberg