Dwight D. Eisenhower was U.S. President while Sen. John F. Kennedy was appearing on Meet the Press. Michigan Representative Ruth Thompson (R) introduced legislation to ban mailing “obscene, lewd, lascivious or filthy” rock and roll phonograph records. And in California, plans to build Disneyland were first announced.
It was in that same year — 1954 — that a remarkable 60-year safety achievement for crews at the Enterprise Compressor Station in Kansas began.
Originally with the Michigan Wisconsin Pipeline Company back then, various teams of employees have passed the torch successfully at the Enterprise Compressor Station to go six decades without a lost-time injury.
“This accomplishment started way back with employees who learned how to work safely before most companies had intricate safety programs. They shared their values with generations of new employees and together we have continued to achieve outstanding results.”
— Bruce Hageman, technician, Enterprise Compressor Station
No easy feat
The team is responsible for the smooth and safe operation of nine compressor units and about 80 miles (128 kilometres) of the 9,400-mile (15,128 kilometres) ANR Mainline, which has been transporting natural gas from Texas, Oklahoma, the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana to markets in the Northeast United States since 1945 (although the compressor station began operations in 1954).
“That means we’re working around some large, heavy parts, and doing lifts with cranes inside the building,” explains Gary Goad, TransCanada area manager. “There’s potential for other injuries working around hot liquids — you’ve got water, oil and high-pressure gas. It is high-risk work, and that’s why people need to know what they’re doing, and why working as a team is so important.”
Communication is team’s key to success
When he was hired 25 years ago, TransCanada’s reliability specialist and technician, Kevin Murphy, quickly found out what the key factor was to the success of this group. Through consistent communication and team members sharing experiences about incident prevention, the team has truly been able to embed TransCanada’s safety values and culture into their everyday work.
“I realized it was actually a process of constant interaction and discussions around safety. Veteran employees were always willing and honoured to share their experiences with the younger members of our team.”
— Kevin Murphy, reliability specialist and technician, TransCanada
Fast forward to 2014 and communication remains the key contributing factor to the team‘s success.
“This group of individuals has genuine concern for one another,” says Hageman. “They care that nobody gets hurt. So they ask questions every morning about what each team member is going to be doing that day. And someone who has worked a particular job reminds another who perhaps hasn’t done that job what precautions they should be taking.
“When it comes to known hazards that we all discuss, it’s a question of respecting them – not fearing them. As new team members come in, we help them identify the potential risks that are here. It’s a nice reminder to everyone at TransCanada that it can be done. You just need to stay focused every day and work as a team.”
Embodying TransCanada’s corporate values
TransCanada, just like our team in Kansas, is proud of the safety record it’s established over the last 60 years. TransCanada’s four core values – integrity, responsibility, collaboration and innovation – all have contributed to the safety of our employees. By working as a team to ensure the safety of the collective group, and by finding innovative ways to ensure tasks are done with minimal risk, the team has proved that dangerous work can be done safely and without incident.