Gas Line Safety

An exposed gas line is a vulnerable gas line

Technical Safety BC calls for greater education and awareness after two severe gas line hit incidents

We recently conducted two investigations into natural gas line explosions, prompting a renewed focus on education and awareness for workers and homeowners digging around exposed utilities. The investigations looked into two separate gas line incidents that occurred in Comox and Fernie in November 2021 and February 2022. The incidents caused extensive damage to buildings, infrastructure, and resulted in injuries to 30 people, some of them serious.  

Following these investigations, people doing excavating work are urged to consider the following:  

  • That the use of mechanical excavators near gas lines close to buildings should be avoided unless: 
  • The risk of explosion has been completely assessed, and additional steps have been taken to mitigate the risk and impact if a gas line is hit.  
  • Those who are digging pay close attention to where they are digging and any structures that may be nearby.  
  • Those on-site are aware of the dangers of an exposed gas line and ensure they are working safely around it.  
  • Extra precautions are taken before and after a gas line is exposed. It’s important to have a plan in place should there be a gas leak or explosion after the gas line has been exposed.
  • There are many courses that work to educate British Columbians on the risks associated with digging near gas lines.
  • Always ensure that before you dig, you schedule a request online or by phone at 1 800 474 6886. This free online service is available 24/7 365 days a year. Requests should be made a minimum of three full business days before the planned excavation. 

Comox explosion

In November 2021, crews were digging near a building in proximity to exposed gas lines at the Canadian Forces Base Comox. This resulted in a major explosion to the military barracks building, injuring 28 people.

Fernie explosion

In February 2022, an excavator installing a water line struck an exposed gas line causing a house explosion and two injuries.