Construction on a Slope – Hazard Awareness on Pipeline Construction

Personal Injury, North America

A pipeline inspector was fatally injured while operating an off-road vehicle on a steep hill along the pipeline construction route. Baker & O’Brien was engaged to determine the incident cause and to opine on the site responsibilities of the various parties associated with the pipeline construction and inspection. Our expert reports and testimony were used by counsel to reach a settlement before trial.

Pipeline construction projects contain many of the same hazards as other construction work activities. Hazards include working at height and in trenches, excavation hazards, working around heavy equipment operations, and vehicle traffic. Constructing pipelines in hills or mountains introduces additional hazards associated with the steep slopes.

At a pipeline construction site in remote hilly terrain, an independent quality control contractor was dispatched to inspect the pipeline coating. The inspector drove an off-road vehicle along the pipeline route to the work site, crested a hill, and proceeded down to the inspection point. However, the slope was too steep to safely transit. When the driver attempted to stop and turn away from the pipeline right-of-way, the vehicle rolled over.

Baker & O’Brien was engaged to determine the incident cause and to opine on the site responsibilities of the various parties associated with the project. We developed a timeline of events and conditions based on witness statements, depositions, and exhibits, to determine the cause. We reviewed the master services agreements and applicable regulations to determine each parties' responsibilities. Baker & O’Brien submitted an expert report and a supplemental report and provided oral testimony, which counsel used to settle the matter before trial.

Melvin M. Sinquefield

Senior Consultant

Industry
Transportation and Storage
Service
Accident / Incident Investigation / Standard of Care / Expert Witness Testimony / Pipeline / OSHA-related / Safety
Region
North America